Catholic priest found guilty of child abuse banned from priesthood

Catholic priest found guilty of child abuse banned from priesthood
© Getty Images

The Archdiocese of Boston announced Friday that a Catholic priest, who was found guilty of sexually abusing a minor by a church panel, has been banned from participating as an active member of the priesthood. 

Paul McLaughlin, who served as a pastor for two different Massachusetts parishes from the 1970s until he was placed on administrative leave in 2001, has been “assigned to a life of prayer and penance,” according to the archdiocese website

The Boston Globe reported in 2003 that three different men accused McLaughlin of sexually abusing them when they were minors. The Globe reported Friday that under the order by the church, McLaughlin will no longer be able to celebrate mass and “may not provide spiritual direction, may not wear clerical attire, and cannot function” as a cleric.


“He is to live in contemplation of his sins and pray for all of those affected by his conduct,” the archdiocese said in a statement, according to the Globe. 

“Having been found guilty he is forbidden from all public ministry and from otherwise presenting himself as a priest,” the statement added. “He is expected to dedicate his life to praying for victims and repenting of his past offenses.”

The Hill has reached out to the Archdiocese of Boston, which oversees roughly 1.8 million Catholics in the city and surrounding area, for further comment. 

According to archdiocese records, the 91-year-old priest, who now resides in California, was first ordained in 1955 and throughout his ministry served at various churches across Massachusetts, including in the cities of Peabody, Arlington and Swampscott.

From 1972 to 1977, he served as the resident chaplain at Regis College in Weston, which is located about 18 miles west of Boston. 

The Globe, whose investigative reporting first published in 2002 brought cases of sexual abuse and cover-ups by clergy members within the Catholic Church to the national spotlight, noted Friday that McLaughlin was first placed on administrative leave in 2001 after an allegation of abuse with a minor from an incident in the late 1960s. 

In 2003, the Globe reported that the allegations against the priest included that McLaughlin orally raped a boy who was 11 or 12 years old.