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N.H. priest calls for Cardinal Law's resignation
By Associated Press, 08/07/02
WINDHAM, N.H. -- A priest member of a panel reviewing sexual misconduct charges against New Hampshire's Roman Catholic clergy says Cardinal Bernard Law should step down.
"At this point he cannot restore people's trust in him," said Monsignor Donald Gilbert, pastor of St. Matthew Church.
Gilbert, a priest for 34 years, Tuesday also told The Eagle-Tribune accused Massachusetts pedophile priests John Geoghan and Paul Shanley are "very blatant criminals," who should have been relieved of their pastoral duties.
"I think it was an attempt to stem any scandal and to deal with the dirty linen in a private way," he said of Law's handling of the accusations against the priests in the Archdiocese of Boston.
New Hampshire Bishop McCormack named Gilbert and five other people to a review panel to hear sexual abuse allegations about New Hampshire priests.
Criticism of Law's handling of abuse cases in Massachusetts has extended to McCormack, who previously served in Massachusetts under Law.
But Gilbert defended his bishop. "I think Bishop McCormack is an honorable man -- a straightforward, what-you-see-is-what you get, warm individual," Gilbert said.
The Diocesan Review Board examines complaints and makes recommendations to McCormack based on what they find. Gilbert said the panel has been meeting since June.
"It's a new tool, and we're going to make good use of it," he said. He said the panel doesn't know the names of the priests and victims when they review a case.
"We are able to focus on the facts and not feelings for the priest or the complainant," he said.
Gilbert said an older priest found to have sexual abused a child could live out his years in a diocesan facility receiving compensation from the church
"When a man is ordained, the bishop takes on the responsibility of his upkeep," he said. "The diocese is obligated to him."
Gilbert declined to comment about an allegation made against the Rev. Edward Richard of St. Patrick Church in neighboring Pelham.
Richard was relieved of his duties in April after police received a complaint filed by an unidentified accuser when Richard was a priest in Merrimack.