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Abuse settlement reached involving two deceased priests

By Pilot Staff
Posted: 4/13/2012

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BOSTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston has reached settlements in sexual abuse cases involving two priests, including a former Boston police chaplain whose only previous connection with the scandal was as a whistleblower. The chaplain, Father James Lane, and Father Richard O'Donovan are both deceased. Archdiocesan spokesperson Terrence C. Donilon said in a statement that there are significant challenges in cases where the accused priest is deceased, there are no prior claims of misconduct against the cleric and the abuse is alleged to have occurred many years ago. "Every effort is made to fully investigate such claims, but without the ability to question the accused priest the investigation is limited," he said. "The capacity to fully determine the credibility of the claims against Father Lane and Father O'Donovan was especially difficult and the settlement amounts reflected the inability to fully substantiate the facts of the matter," Donilon said. The names of the priests will be added to the list published on the archdiocesan website,, in the section for Archdiocesan clergy accused of sexual abuse of a minor for whom criminal or canonical proceedings were not completed, but where the existence of allegations had previously been publicized, according to Donilon. "In most cases in this category, the allegations were received only after the priest's death. The list included names for those whom there has been no formal determination of guilt, nor could there be. The decision of the archdiocese to list these names was made in the interest of transparency and healing."