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High school chaplain fired for off-campus student contact

By Christine Tolfree
Posted: 4/1/2005

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LAWRENCE — Father Michael C. Randone was removed from his position as part-time volunteer chaplain at Central Catholic High School in Lawrence March 28 “based on three known violations of the school’s policy on appropriate boundaries between adults and minors,” according to a statement from school president Brother Richard Van Houten, FMS. Father Randone subsequently resigned as pastor of Sacred Hearts his Haverhill parish.

“Central Catholic’s first priority is the safety of its students,” Brother Richard said in the statement. “We were dismayed to learn recently that Father Randone was engaging in computerized instant messaging with three Central Catholic students. Instant messaging between staff and students is another behavior that is strongly and specifically discouraged in our boundaries policy.”

Father Randone received a verbal warning in 2002 and a written warning in 2003 from the previous president, Brother Thomas Long, FMS for having off-campus contact with students, unrelated to school business.

“None of the boundary violations that the school was able to verify were sexual in nature. One instant message, signed with the same screen name that Father Randone used on other communications, did include some offensive content, but Father Randone has denied sending this message, and the school is unable to confirm its origin,” Brother Richard added.

Father Randone’s repeated actions, despite warnings, left the school “no choice but to terminate him as school chaplain” and notify both civil authorities and the Archdiocese of Boston.

The archdiocese notified both the DSS and district attorney of Essex County and began its own review of the situation, said Molly Horton, a spokesperson for the archdiocese.

“In order to address this situation and with consideration for the parish family of Sacred Hearts parish in Haverhill, Father Randone has submitted his resignation as pastor,” an archdiocesan release said.

Horton said the archdiocese could not comment further on the situation.