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Lynn priest won’t face sexual abuse charges

Prosecutors will not file charges against a Catholic priest from Lynn who was accused one year ago of sexually abusing a child, according to the priest’s lawyer. But the Archdiocese of Boston said it will continue its own investigation. The Rev. James E. Gaudreau said he hopes the archdiocese will soon allow him to return to his duties as pastor of Saint Joseph Parish.

“My conscience was always clear,” said a statement from Gaudreau, who has been on leave since the investigation began. “I knew that I was innocent of any wrongdoing. I was also confident that, in time, I would be thoroughly exonerated.”

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“Now that the cloud of suspicion has been lifted by civil authorities, I look forward to a prompt and equally just vindication by the canonical authorities of the Archdiocese of Boston,” he added.

Gaudreau will remain on leave and restricted from public ministry until the archdiocese investigation is complete, said a statement from Terrence Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese. He did not comment on how long that process could take.

Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for the Essex County district attorney’s office, confirmed Sunday that no charges have been filed against Gaudreau. She declined to comment further, including about whether the investigation has been completed, citing the office’s general policy to not comment on investigations.

Gaudreau, 70, arrived at Saint Joseph Parish in 1984 as the Spanish apostolate for the Lynn area and became the church’s pastor in 1993, archdiocese officials have said.

Last September, he was accused of sexually abusing a child in 2006. Archdiocese officials notified police and launched their own investigation as the Essex County district attorney’s office and the Lynn Police Department began their probe, which was closed recently, the priest’s attorney, Frank L. McNamara Jr. of Bolton, said.

Gaudreau, in his statement, said he was grateful for support he has received. “I thank God and His Blessed Mother for this day of deliverance, and I thank all those parishioners of St. Joseph’s Parish and others who stood by me and prayed for me during this long ordeal,” he said.

Matt Rocheleau can be
reached at matthew.rocheleau@globe.com.
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