Seven Clergy With Peabody Ties on List of Accused Priests

The Boston Archdiocese released an official list late last week with the names of 159 priests involved in cases of the sexual abuse of children. Seven priests with ties to Peabody were included in the list.

Peabody Patch/August 29, 2011

Seven clergymen with ties to Peabody were named in the list of clergy accused of sexually abusing children that was released by the Boston Catholic Archdiocese on Thursday.

The cases mentioned span the better part of six decades, and in most of the Peabody cases, the individuals accused of abuse have since died, while one case is in progress and another has been closed, ending in a guilty plea to criminal charges.

The 159 names on the list aren't necessarily news in themselves, but it the first time the Church has officially released the information.

Cardinal Sean O'Malley explained in a letter that he chose to withhold the names of certain priests, however, particularly ones that were never publicly charged while they were alive.

Out of 248 priests and two deacons accused of child sex abuse since 1950, 91 names were not released. That group includes deceased priests who weren't publicly accused, priests working in Boston under religious orders or other dioceses and those named in unsubstantiated accusations that didn't go public.

O'Malley was quickly criticized by advocates for clergy abuse victims and Attorney General Martha Coakley for not going far enough and releasing those names as well.

The list last week was broken into five categories, A-E. Category "A" cases were those where the accused was found guilty either by the Church, the state or both, and was either dismissed from office or sentenced to a life of prayer and penance and/or faced criminal charges.

Two Peabody priests were on that list: Robert E. Barrett, a former assistant at St. Adelaide's from September to October, 1969, and W. James Nyhan, a former chaplain at Bishop Fenwick High School who served from 1983-1994.

In Barrett's case, he was assigned to a life of prayer and penance in 2004 and died in 2008. Nyhan, who also spent several years as a technical Assistant in St. Mary's of Salem while a chaplain at Fenwick, pleaded guilty to criminal charges in 2006 and was dismissed from office in 2007.

Paul J. McLaughlin, a former assistant at St. Ann's from 1955-1956, and then an assistant at St. John the Evangelist in Swampscott from 1966-1972, is on administrative leave. His case, labeled as "Category C," is still in progress.

The remaining four accused priests were in "Category E," which was used for cases involving deceased clergy for whom criminal or canonical investigations weren't completed, but allegations of abuse were publicized.

* John T. Atwater, a parochial vicar at St. John the Baptist from 1985-1990. He retired in 2000 and died in 2006.

* Eugene J. Bailot, an assistant at St. Adelaide's from 1971-1975. He retired in 1975 and died in 1983.

* James T. McDonald, an assistant at St. Ann's from 1965-1966. He retired in 1996 and died in 1999.

* Thomas F. Motherway, an associate pastor at St. Ann's from 1973-1974. He died in 2003.

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