Ex-Danvers priest is defrocked

The Salem News, Massachusetts/July 20, 2011

Danvers - A former priest at St. Mary of the Annunciation Church in Danvers has voluntarily been removed from the clerical state, the Archdiocese of Boston announced yesterday.

William M. Walsh, 65, now a former reverend, is barred from working in any capacity as a priest except for giving last rites to the dying, officials announced in a press release.

Walsh was assigned to St. Mary of the Annunciation from 1997 until 2004, when he was placed on a leave of absence amid allegations he had sexually abused a child in the early 1970s, a time when he was assigned to Blessed Sacrament Church in Jamaica Plain.

At the time of his leave, The Associated Press reported that he had also been accused of sexually abusing boys while serving at St. Edward's Church in Brockton, a post he held from 1987 to 1997.

Yesterday, lawyer Mitchell Garabedian, who has represented more than 750 alleged clergy abuse victims, said he represented a man who alleged that he was molested and physically abused by Walsh while the priest was assigned to another parish, St. Joseph's in Hyde Park, where he was assigned from 1980 to 1987.

Garabedian's client was 12 when the incidents began, he said. The abuse took place about a dozen times at both the church, in the parking lot of another church in Jamaica Plain and at Salisbury Beach, as well as in New Hampshire, Garabedian said, in 1985 and 1986.

He said Walsh met the boy through other children and was known for giving kids money and Chinese food.

Garabedian said the archdiocese settled the case for an undisclosed sum four years ago.

So far, no allegations of abuse at St. Mary's have come to light.

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