Jan 15 - Archdiocese of Boston Announces Status of Investigation into Abuse Allegation against Reverend J. Garret Thomson*

(Braintree, Mass.) January 15, 2010…The Archdiocese of Boston today announced that it has closed an investigation into a complaint of alleged sexual abuse of a minor made against Rev. J. Garret Thomson, a priest of the Archdiocese who died on Wednesday, January 6, 2010. Fr. Thomson most recently served as pastor of St. Martha’s Church in Plainville.

On Monday, January 4, 2010, the Archdiocese placed Fr. Thomson on administrative leave as a result of a single allegation of sexual abuse of a minor. The allegation concerns conduct alleged to have taken place approximately fifteen years ago. The Archdiocese notified law enforcement of the allegation and initiated a preliminary investigation into the complaint. The decision to place Fr. Thomson on administrative leave represented the Archdiocese’s commitment to the safety of all parties and did not represent a determination of Fr. Thomson’s guilt or innocence as it pertained to this allegation. As a result of Fr. Thomson’s death, the Archdiocese has closed its investigation into the allegation.

Since learning of Fr. Thomson’s death on January 6, the Archdiocese’s focus has been on laying Fr. Thomson to rest and the important work of supporting the parish as the community mourns the loss of its pastor. At the weekend Masses celebrated on January 9 and January 10, Auxiliary Bishop John Dooher informed the parishioners of St. Martha’s Parish of Fr. Thomson’s death and notified them that Fr. Thomson had been placed on administrative leave. Bishop Dooher was also present to the parish to express the sympathy and concern of Cardinal O’Malley and the entire Archdiocese. In addition, Bishop Dooher announced that a meeting with the Parish would be held on Wednesday, January 20, 2010 to discuss the details surrounding Fr. Thomson’s status.

Cardinal O’Malley expressed his care and concern for all persons impacted by this news, including the parishioners of St. Martha’s Church and the other parishes where Fr. Thomson served previously. 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. Additionally, any individual who has a complaint relating to sexual misconduct by Church personnel is encouraged to contact the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach.

The Archdiocese is committed to the ongoing pastoral care of the St. Martha’s parish community. Rev. Thomas J. Stanton has graciously accepted Cardinal O’Malley’s appointment to serve as Temporary Administrator at St. Martha’s.