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Archdiocese of Boston settles six clergy sex abuse lawsuits dating back decades

The Archdiocese of Boston has agreed to settle lawsuits over six clergy members accused of sexually abusing boys as young as 7 over a period of decades in local Catholic parishes, according to a lawyer for the victims.

The abuse allegedly took place from about 1966 and 1990, when the victims, who were all boys, ranged in age from 7 to 14, attorney Mitchell Garabedian said in a statement Wednesday. He said the claims were settled in June “in the high five figures.”

“By reporting the sexual abuse, clergy sexual abuse victims are empowering themselves and other victims, and expressing an important need to protect innocent children,” Garabedian said.

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A spokesman for the archdiocese did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday night.

The six named in the suits were Deacon William Emerson, Monsignor James J. Haddad, the Rev. Paul R. McCarthy, the Rev. Paul J. McLaughlin, the Rev. Francis E. O’Brien Jr., and the Rev. Bernard L. Sullivan, according to Garabedian.

Emerson was accused of sexually abusing a boy in the basement of St. William’s Church in Tewksbury on at least 100 occasions from about 1973 to 1978, when the child was roughly 8 to 13 years old, according to the statement. Emerson died in 2018.

Haddad, while assigned to St. Eulalia Church in Winchester, allegedly abused a boy at least four times in 1976 and 1977, when he was 13 to 14, according to Garabedian. Haddad died in 2007.

McCarthy allegedly abused a boy at least twice around 1989 to 1990, when McCarthy was assigned to St. Catherine of Siena Church in Norwood and the child was 11 or 12, Garabedian said.

McLaughlin was accused of abusing a boy at least 10 times from about 1967 to 1969, when the boy was 8 to 10 and McLaughlin was assigned to St. John the Evangelist Church in Swampscott, according to the statement.

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O’Brien allegedly abused a boy in properties belonging to Christ the King Parish in Hudson, including a room in the church and a room in its grammar school, on at least 14 occasions from roughly 1966 to 1971, when the boy was ages 7 to 12, Garabedian said. O’Brien died in 2008.

Sullivan was accused of abusing an altar boy at St. Catherine of Genoa Church in Somerville at least six times from about 1970 to 1973, when the boy was 10 to 13 and Father Sullivan was assigned to that church, according to the statement. Sullivan died in 1985.


Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.