AUGUSTA -- The Rev. Lou Phillips said he hasn't gotten one concernedphone call from parishioners since the state's Roman Catholic bishopdisclosed this past weekend the names of six Maine priests accused ofsexual abuse.
Threeof those priests -- Peter Gorham, Frederick Carrigan and MichaelPlourde -- held positions in Augusta-area churches, which serve about4,800 families.
"I checked with the other two priests in Augusta-Gardiner and they report the same," Phillips said Tuesday.
Phillipsis head of the Augusta area cluster of churches, which includes St.Andrew, St. Augustine, St. Mary of the Assumption, all of Augusta; St.Joseph of Gardiner; and St. Denis of Whitefield.
This pastweekend, Maine's Bishop Richard Malone publicly identified the sixaccused priests out of concern that some of them could commit offenseswhile waiting for the Vatican to complete its investigation.
"I'm assuming those people who had concerns in the past voiced them," Phillips said.
But Phillips also said he is urging people who may have been abused to report it to the Diocese or police.
"Ifsomeone contacts me, I would make arrangements to connect them with theproper personnel," Phillips said. "We're also making the Bishop's fullannouncement available at the back of all the churches."
Hesaid Bishop Malone has set aside March 21 as a special day of prayerand penance for himself, all clergy, and laity who want to support thevictims of clerical sex abuse.
Gorham, 79, served at St. Josephin Gardiner in 1953 for about a month, said Sue Bernard, director ofCommunications for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland. He alsoserved at St. Joseph in Waterville in 1953 for about a year, Bernardsaid.
Carrigan, 72, who was first accused in 1991, was removedfrom the ministry in 2002 after being accused of abuse dating to 1972.Bernard said he served at St. Joseph from 1969 to 1972.
Plourde,56, who was accused by two minors in 1994 and was removed from theministry that year, lives in Maine and served at St. Mary in Augustafrom 1990 to 1992; St. John in Winslow from 1992 to 1993, and at AMHIfrom 1993 to 1994.
The other accused priests are: Francis Kane, George W. Beaudet and Ronald N. Michaud.
Ofthose six accused, the Vatican already ruled in the cases of Gorham andKane. The Vatican made their removal from the ministry permanent andassigned them to a "life of prayer and penance."
Harvey Paul, thestate coordinator for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,or SNAP, said the bishop should release more information about theaccused priests, such as where they live.
"Any information is important," Paul said.
"It'slong past the time where we need to bring this out into the open. It'stime to help survivors move on and protect the kids today."
Elizabeth Comeau -- 623-3811, Ext. 433
Cyndi Desrosiers of Augusta, ME
Jan 31, 2007 10:10 AM
"NOCONCERN?" Survivors do not call the institution where they were harmedfor help. They have seen and heard how painful that has been for othersurvivors and how the church has hidden the truth for far too long.
Fr. Phillips should get up at the pulpit for many weekends andoffer help to those in need. These pedophiles are added to the list ofFr. Shorty and Fr. Melville. By my calculation, that makes at leastfive priests THAT WE KNOW OF just in St. Mary's.
If Fr. Phillips is truly concerned about the survivors, he willhave sexual assault advocates at each mass to let parents and childrenknow the signs of abuse, the avenues for healing and the resourcesavailable to them for recovery.
Let's not forget the need for the church to reach out to begin thehealing process for many out there who have not had the strength yet todeal with their past violation. They are the ones St. Mary's should beCONCERNED about.
GreatNana3 of Augusta, ME
Jan 31, 2007 10:09 AM
Perhapspart of "moving on" is recognizing that appropriate actions have beentaken and it's time to put it in the past. What you are may have beeninfluenced by your past, but what you become now is up to you.
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