A former pastor of a Roman Catholic parish in Framingham was indicted Monday for allegedly raping an altar server more than a decade ago, according to Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan’s office.
Monsignor Francis Strahan, 89, was charged with one count of rape of a child by force and three counts of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. An arraignment date hasn’t been set.
His lawyer, R. Matthew Rickman of Libby Hoopes Brooks & Mulvey, P.C., said in a statement that Strahan denies the allegations.
“He is, simply put, not guilty,” Rickman said. “This is a gross injustice to a man who devoted his life to serving people and his parish.”
The charges were filed in connection with the alleged sexual assault of a male student at Saint Bridget School in Framingham on two occasions when the boy was between 11 and 13, prosecutors said. The alleged assaults took place when the victim was an altar server at Saint Bridget Parish between 2004 and 2008, according to Ryan’s office and legal filings. At the time, Strahan was pastor of the church.
“On one occasion when the victim was dropped off for altar service and was alone in the church, the defendant allegedly raped and sexually assaulted him,” prosecutors said. “On another occasion, the defendant allegedly assaulted the victim again by pressing his body against the victim, who was again at Saint Bridget for altar serving.”
The Archdiocese of Boston placed Strahan on leave in 2019 when the allegations came to light. He remains on leave “without any public ministry” pending the outcome of the case, the archdiocese said Tuesday.
Strahan is also facing a canonical investigation that is on hold while the criminal matter is pending.
“Msgr. Strahan will remain on administrative leave without any public ministry pending the outcome,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “His resignation as pastor of St. Bridget, Framingham has been accepted. We pray for a just and fair resolution to these proceedings for all involved.”
The archdiocese said it is committed to ensuring the safety and well-being of children and young people in its parishes and institutions.
“Through its Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, the Archdiocese continues to make counseling and other services available to survivors, their families and parishes impacted by clergy sexual abuse and by allegations of abuse by members of the clergy,” the archdiocese said.
Travis Andersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.