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West Bridewater priest placed on leave after sexual abuse allegation
By Associated Press, 05/24/02
BOSTON -- The Archdiocese of Boston placed a West Bridgewater priest on administrative leave on Friday after church officials became aware of an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.
The Rev. Edward C. McDonagh, pastor of St. Ann Parish, was placed on leave pending an investigation.
"Following our policy it was determined that the allegations had enough substance to warrant further investigation by the Archdiocese of Boston regarding a past incident," spokeswoman Donna Morrissey said.
McDonagh has been a priest since 1962, but Morrissey did not know how long he has been at St. Ann. The archdiocese did not release details about the allegation, including when or where it allegedly occurred or the gender of the alleged victim.
The allegation was reported only recently, Morrissey said.
Morrissey said the archdiocese regretted that parishioners couldn't be told first.
"We don't want the perception we were hiding anything or withholding information," she said. "We do regret that we didn't have the ability to notify the parish tonight."
Cardinal Bernard Law has publicly stated several times that all priests against whom there is a credible allegation of sexual misconduct will be suspended.
"This is not an allegation we were aware of in the past," she said.
The allegation will be forwarded to law enforcement officials, Morrissey said.
The parish will be provided with counseling.
The Rev. Francis Cloherty, regional vicar, will attend weekend Masses to speak to parishioners, and a Catholic Charities social worker will be available.
A message left on McDonagh's answering machine at the St. Ann rectory Friday evening was not immediately returned.
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