Accused Irish priests had no allegations while in Boston

BRAINTREE -- Officials of the Archdiocese of Boston confirmed Jan. 26 that none of those on a list of priests accused of sexual misconduct in Ireland who served in the Boston archdiocese have any allegations against them for acts committed while serving in Boston.

The Boston archdiocese stated that no priest on the list currently serves in Boston and of the 70 names the group has published, only three -- Brendan Smyth, Joseph Maguire, and Dennis Murphy -- served in the archdiocese. Also, at the time permission to serve in Boston was granted, the archdiocese said it was not aware of allegations having been made against those priests.

However, the archdiocese said there is a separate case of an Irish priest who allegedly abused a child in the Archdiocese of Boston that remains under investigation. The archdiocese did not release the name of the priest and the abuse was alleged to have occurred approximately thirty years ago.

“Our hearts and prayers go out to those in Ireland who have been harmed by the tragic reality of sexual abuse of children by clergy. We know from our own experience the profound impact and suffering caused by the harm perpetrated on children and young people,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

In the cases of Smyth, Maguire, and Murphy, the priests’ home diocese or religious order asked the Boston archdiocese to grant them permission to perform priestly ministry in Boston.

Smyth, a Premonstratensian, was granted permission to serve for two days, August 3 and 4, 1991, doing mission appeals at St. Camillus Parish in Arlington. Maguire, a priest of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, worked with the Stigmatine Fathers at Espousal Center in Waltham from 1981 to 1985, and Murphy, of the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, served at St. Cecilia Parish in Boston from January 5 to May 31, 1996 and again from June 7, 1996 to May 31, 1997.

“This is the best information we have at this time regarding authorized service in the Archdiocese of Boston,” Terry Donilon, archdiocesan spokesman, said.

In November 2009, an independent investigation looked at the handling of 325 sexual abuse claims in the Archdiocese of Dublin between 1975 and 2004. Since that time, four Irish bishops have resigned.