Vatican defrocks former Massachusetts priest accused of abuse

Vatican defrocks former Massachusetts priest accused of abuse

Vatican defrocks former Massachusetts priest accused of abuse

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The Vatican has defrocked a priest who was named in one of the Worcester Diocese of Massachusetts' largest sex-abuse settlements.

WORCESTER, Massachusetts — The Vatican has defrocked a priest who was named in one of the Worcester Diocese of Massachusetts’ largest sex-abuse settlements.

The diocese in a statement Thursday said Peter Inzerillo was laicized at his own request. The decision means Inzerillo “may not function in any capacity as a priest or be referred to as a priest or as ‘Father’.”

The diocese had removed Inzerillo from ministry in 2002, and he had not had faculties for priestly ministry since that time.

Inzerillo served as director of Vocations from 1983 until 1994.

The Telegram & Gazette reports that Inzerillo was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old man who was considering a vocation to the priesthood in 1985.

The victim said he told Inzerillo about being abused by a priest when he was a 13-year-old altar boy; following the disclosure, Inzerillo then also abused him.

Inzerillo was not criminally charged.

The diocese settled the case in 1999 for $300,000, and reassigned Inzerillo to a different parish.

Ordained in 1970, he served at parishes in Leominster and Fitchburg and was also headmaster at St. Peter-Marian High School. A listed number for Inzerillo was not in service Friday.

“It is my fervent prayer that Christ may bring healing and hope to anyone who has been abused by a priest or by anyone in the Catholic Church,” said Bishop Robert J. McManus.

The bishop also encouraged anyone in need of pastoral assistance as a result of clerical abuse to contact the diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator in the Office of Healing and Prevention.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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