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The Vatican has defrocked a priest after a church investigation found he was guilty of abuse of a minor, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston said Thursday.

Thomas H. Maguire, who was ordained nearly 40 years ago, had in the past bemoaned the personal and spiritual effect the church sexual abuse scandal had taken on his colleagues and the archdiocese.

Maguire had been removed from public ministry since 2012, when he faced an allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct in the presence of minors.

At that time, Maguire was pastor at St. Helen Mother of the Emperor Constantine in Norwell, and church officials said the alleged behavior had happened near the time he was removed from ministry.

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Law enforcement reviewed the case, and could not substantiate the accusations against Maguire, the archdiocese said. But church officials said other accusers came forward with reports of “inappropriate sexual conduct which had occurred in the mid-1990s and before.”

Church officials said they also referred those allegations to law enforcement, but they fell outside the criminal statute of limitations. The church undertook its own investigation under canon law and found that Maguire had abused a minor, officials said.

“We are grateful to the victims who had the strength to come forward,” the archdiocese said in a statement. “Their courage assisted the Church in seeking justice for the inappropriate conduct which occurred years before the initial allegation in 2012. We pray for all those affected by this matter.”

When Maguire was placed on leave in 2012, church officials said he had worked at 10 parishes in Massachusetts. Before coming to Norwell in 2001, Maguire was pastor of St. Jeremiah Parish in Framingham for about three years, officials said.

He worked as a temporary parochial vicar at St. Joseph Parish in Needham during 1998 and at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Bridgewater during 1996 and 1997. For about seven years before that, Maguire was a parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Canton.

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Between 1985 and 1989, Maguire had stints as a parochial vicar at St. Denis Parish in Westwood, Our Lady of the Rosary Parish in Stoughton, and St. Patrick Parish in Watertown.

Between 1978 and 1985, Maguire worked as a parochial vicar at St. 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, the archdiocese said in 2012.


Andy Rosen can be reached at andrew.rosen@globe.com.