Woman who says priest abused her settles with church

Associated Press/March 16, 2022

Boston — A woman who says she was sexually abused by a Catholic priest who taught at her high school in Massachusetts has reached a financial settlement with the church, her lawyer said Tuesday.

The settlement with the Archdiocese of Boston reached late last year “was in the high five figures,” attorney Mitchell Garabedian said at a news conference.

The priest, the Father Michael J. Regan, has not previously appeared on any list of credibly accused clergy, including the archdiocese’s own list, Garabedian said. He died in 2020.

“No substantiated claim of abuse was received while he was living,” the archdiocese said in a statement.

The now 60-year-old woman was sexually abused multiple times from 1977 until 1980 when she was from 14 to 17 years of age and attended the now-closed Pope John XXIII High School in Everett where Regan taught economics, Garabedian said.

Ordained in 1962, he served at multiple parishes, schools and church facilities around the archdiocese during his career.

Regan said he would not let her graduate if she did not comply with his sexual demands, the attorney said.

“She was terrified,” Garabedian said.

Officials at two church watchdog groups, BishopAccountability.org and the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, said they had never before heard of Regan.

“This is the first time we have seen this name,” SNAP’s Michael McDonnell said.

Terry McKiernan of BishopAccountability.org said new names of accused church employees are coming up with increased frequency.

“We are seeing a surprising number of new accused priests that have never before been on our radar,” he said. The organization has a nationwide database of about 7,400 priests, members of religious orders, nuns, seminarians and deacons who have been accused of abuse, he said.

The Boston Archdiocese’s list of about 130 credibly accused clergy is sorely lacking, he said.

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