Important Announcement Regarding Paulist Father Allegations
Dear Members of the Paulist Center Community,
In the interest of transparency about, and—more importantly—outreach to, survivors of clerical sexual abuse, the Paulist Fathers nationally are releasing names of members who have had recent credible allegations of abuse of minors and are making announcements in each place where these Paulists served. These are in addition to those names already available on national websites (e.g., bishopsaccountability.org and various dioceses and archdioceses where Paulist sexual abuse took place).
To those ends, therefore, I am bringing to your attention the names of three Paulists with recent allegations who have been stationed or lived here at the Catholic Information Center/the Paulist Center (5 Park Street) or St. Ann’s Church (in the Back Bay, administered by the Paulists 1945-1978, and subsequently closed and their congregation folded into St. Cecilia’s Parish). To the Paulists’ knowledge, these are the only Paulists ever stationed or living in Boston who have had credible allegations raised against them.
The Paulist Fathers released information regarding Fr. Frank Sweeney, C.S.P., on staff from 1961-62 and simply in residence (not on staff) from, records show, 1995-2004, and discussed in a public meeting here at the Center with the then-Paulist President, Fr. John Duffy, C.S.P., in March 2004. However, a new, anonymous allegation against Fr. Sweeney has surfaced, so I am including him in this list in case anyone here in Boston has any information they wish to relay about him (his known allegations all occurred in Baltimore).
Fr. Thomas Dove, C.S.P
In 2014, an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor female was made against Fr. Thomas Dove, C.S.P., from the time he served at the Catholic Information Center in Los Angeles, 1965-1974. The credibility of this allegation has only recently been established and reported to the authorities in law enforcement. However, upon receipt of the allegation in 2014, before its credibility was established and from that time onward, Fr. Dove was withdrawn from public ministry and has been forbidden to function publicly as a priest. Fr. Dove was here in Boston at Park Street for one year from 1961-62 immediately after his ordination during what was then referred to as an “internship year.” In addition to the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Dove, now 84, residing at the Paulist House in San Francisco, has served in the Archdioceses of San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Chicago and the dioceses of Salt Lake City and Memphis.
Fr. Robert Michele, C.S.P.
In September 2018, an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor female was made against Fr. Robert Michele, C.S.P. The abuse occurred more than 40 years ago while Fr. Michele was an associate pastor at St. Philip Neri Church, Portland, Oregon, from 1964-1968 and from 1972 to 1973. Received and investigated, the allegation was found to be credible and substantiated. This case was reported to law enforcement. Fr. Michele, 90, is currently in a skilled nursing facility outside Portland, Oregon, and is prohibited from ministering as a priest in any capacity. Fr. Michele served from 1973 -1979 at St. Ann’s Church, Back Bay. Fr. Michele served also in the archdioceses of Mobile, New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Baltimore, and Vancouver as well as in the diocese of Austin.
Fr. Frank M. Sweeney, C.S.P.
An anonymous allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor male by was recently made. Fr. Sweeney was on staff from 1961-62, and later in residence (not in ministry) at 5 Park Street from 1995-2004. Fr. Sweeney was removed from ministry in 1993 following two credible allegations of sexual abuse of two underage males in Baltimore. Fr. Sweeney died in 2013. As mentioned above, the Paulist Fathers publicly disclosed the prior allegations against Fr. Sweeney to the Paulist Center Community.
Any person who has any concerns or information is asked to contact me at 617.948.2454, or any of the following:
- Fr. Rick Walsh, C.S.P., at 617.948.2413;
- Fr. John Behnke, C.S.P., Vice President and Safety Officer for the Paulist Fathers, 212.757.8072
- Ms. Vivian Soper, Boston Archdiocesan Director of the Office of Victims Assistance, at 617-746-5995;
- The appropriate civil authorities.
The Paulist Fathers are committed to protecting children and to helping survivors of abuse in their healing process. We are deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to the actions of some members of our community. We hope that this information will help any other survivors who may be in the general public to come forward with any information they may have.
And let us pray for/with one another.
Fr. Michael McGarry
Director, Paulist Center