Men [of God] at work in Massachusetts

15 Mar 2001


BOSTON - Two former parishioners of St. Ann's Church in Dorchester have filed a lawsuit against a Catholic priest who once served there, accusing him of sexually molesting them when they were children.

William and Paul Oberle, who are brothers, allege that Fr. Paul Mahan engaged in a "pattern and practice of explicit sexual behavior and graphic sexual conversation" with them in 1969, when they were 12 and 7, respectively.

They allege that Mahan fondled their genitals, spoke to them about pornography, and offered them pornographic materials, according to the lawsuit. The Oberles, now 42 and 37, allege that the misconduct usually took place on Mahan's boat, at the church, and on Boy Scout outings.

The Archdiocese of Boston did not return calls seeking comment on the Oberles's lawsuit. Mahan, whose last known address was in Arlington, Va., could not be reached for comment. According to the Official Catholic Directory, Mahan was on sick leave in 1997. The 1999 directory no longer lists him as a priest. Globe, 3/15/00


BOSTON - A mother, her son and another man have been charged with trying to bilk the Archdiocese of Boston out of $850,000 by claiming sexual abuse against a priest.

Sean Murphy, 35, his mother, Sylvia, 57, and Byron Worth, 41, have been indicted on conspiracy and attempted larceny charges. The trio claimed that Worth, Sean Murphy and his brother were sexually abused by a priest when they were children, said the State Attorney General. In 1998, Sean Murphy allegedly sought $850,000 from the archdiocese.

Police determined that at the time of the alleged abuse, neither Murphy nor Worth lived in the community where the abuse supposedly occurred. To support the scheme, Sylvia Murphy created phony school records showing that the family had lived in the town more than two decades ago, the DA's office said.

An archdiocesan spokesman said no payments were made. Murphy's brother, whose name was not released, was not charged.

AP, 2/25/00


BOSTON - After years of rage, alleged victims of a defrocked priest shouted at John J. Geoghan, 64, in court after he pleaded innocent to assaulting two young boys in the 1980s and 1990s. He also faces 77 civil lawsuits for alleged abuse.

"You filthy pig," Paul Mendez, now 35 and an alleged victim in one of the civil cases, shouted as Geoghan was led out of a courtroom. "I hope you burn in hell," another yelled.

Over the past several years, the Archdiocese of Boston reportedly has paid millions of dollars to settle nearly two dozen sex abuse claims against Geoghan, who served as a priest at 5 parishes in Boston, Saugus, Hingham and Weston between 1962 and 1994.

Geoghan pleaded innocent in to assaulting two children. Later in the day, he pleaded innocent in another court to improperly touching a third boy at a youth club.

Though Geoghan is suspected of having molested more than 100 children, these indictments mark the first time he has been criminally charged. He faces the possibility of life in prison.

Geoghan, who was stripped of his priestly duties in 1998, also faces dozens of lawsuits by people who claimed he molested them as far back as the 1960s. Boston Card. Bernard Law said he was anguished and sickened by the charges. But he refused to say the Church did anything wrong.

Mendez, a Boston postal worker, said he was abused for 5 years, between the ages of 9 and 14, at a church.

The judge released Geoghan on personal recognizance, despite saying he found the facts of the cases "absolutely sickening" and appalling.

According to court documents, a Boston boy was repeatedly raped over the course of a year in the early 1980s, when he was approximately 7 years old. Much of the abuse occurred during trips to a high school swimming pool, in the basement of the priest's family home and in the boy's bedroom, authorities said.

Another boy was allegedly molested repeatedly in 1995 and 1996 when he was approximately 10.

AP, 12/10, 12/3


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