The Roman Catholic pastor of a Norwell church accused of recently engaging in “inappropriate behavior in the presence of minors” has taken a voluntary, paid administrative leave of absence, the Archdiocese of Boston announced on Sunday.
The Rev. Thomas H. Maguire, the pastor at Saint Helen Mother of the Emperor Constantine Parish in Norwell since 2001, will remain on leave, barring him from partaking in any public ministry, pending the results of a preliminary investigation by the Archdiocese.
Archdiocese officials said in a press release that they immediately notified law enforcement of the allegation, but Archdiocese spokesman Terrence C. Donilon declined to comment further about the allegation and investigation.
Maguire, 63, has been a priest for 36 years, working at 10 parishes in Massachusetts, according to Donilon. Before joining the parish in Norwell, he was pastor of Saint Jeremiah Parish in Framingham for about three years, Donilon said.
He worked as a temporary parochial vicar at Saint Joseph Parish in Needham during 1998 and at Saint Thomas Aquinas Parish in Bridgewater during 1996 and 1997.
For about seven years before that, Maguire was a parochial vicar at Saint John the Evangelist Parish in Canton, according to the Archdiocese spokesman. Between 1985 and 1989, he worked separate stints as a parochial vicar at Saint Denis Parish in Westwood, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Stoughton, and Saint Patrick Parish in Watertown.
Between 1978 and 1985 he was a parochial vicar at Saint Mary of the Assumption Parish in Dedham. He was ordained at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston in 1976 and began his career as a parochial vicar at Sacred Heart Parish in Quincy, Donilon said.
In 2002, another priest, the Rev. Gerald J. Hickey, had been assisting at Saint Helen Parish in Norwell for several years before he was put on leave during an investigation into “an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor,” the Globe reported.
The Archdiocese has since found the allegation against Hickey to be “unsubstantiated.” according to its website.
But Hickey’s ministry has been restricted by the Archdiocese for “other reasons concerning [his] suitability for ministry,” the website said.
“We are committed to the protection of children and young people in our parishes and institutions,” Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley said in a statement. “The faithful and the clergy of the Archdiocese join me in this pledge of prayerful support. We are committed to providing for the pastoral care of the parish while we seek a just resolution. Please join in praying for all impacted by this matter.”
The Archdiocese’s pastoral support and outreach office is offering counseling and other services to survivors, their families, and parishes impacted by clergy sexual abuse and by allegations of abuse by members of the clergy.
That office can be contacted by calling 617-746-5985.