Rev. Lane named in settlement with man claiming sexual abuse

By 
Tom Mulvoy and Bill Forry, Reporter Staff
Apr. 12, 2012

Fr. James Lane: Longtime pastor at St. Brendan parishFr. James Lane: Longtime pastor at St. Brendan parishA story in Wednesday’s Boston Globe reported that a settlement had been reached between the archdiocese of Boston and an individual who claimed he had been sexually abused by the late Rev. James H. Lane, the longtime pastor of St. Brendan’s Parish who was for many years a chaplain with the Boston Police Department. Lane died in 2007.

The newspaper pointed out that “as is standard,” none of a dozen settlements mentioned in the story “involved an admission of guilt.”

Terence Donilon, the spokesman for the archdiocese, confirmed the settlement in the Lane case and in another claim while telling the Globe that the church’s investigations “were inconclusive because both involved a single victim who professed to have been abused more than 40 years ago by a priest who died before he could answer the allegations.”

In the Lane case, according to the Globe report, the individual claiming abuse said it began when he was an altar boy at St. Paul’s Church in Dorchester in the 1960s and continued on a number of occasions over several years. Mitchell Garabedian, the lawyer for the claimants in the settlement cases, said in the Globe story that Lane remained close to the alleged victim’s family, officiating at the claimant’s wedding, baptizing two of his children, and presiding at his mother’s funeral.

The current pastor of St. Brendan parish, Rev. John Connolly, said Wednesday that he was preparing a letter to share with parishioners that will address the accusation against Lane.

“Obviously it’s upsetting news to hear this about anyone. As Father Jim Lane’s successor as a pastor and as Boston Police chaplain, it makes it even more difficult to hear,” Rev. Connolly told the Reporter. Connolly served for more than a decade as the archdiocese of Boston’s point person for responding to allegations about clergy abuse, a role he only recently ended to serve full-time as a pastor.

“One of things that I learned, and it’s a lesson that we all need to keep in our minds, is that we don’t know what we don’t know,” Fr. Connolly said. “No one can talk to Father Lane about it and it makes a troubling situation that much more difficult.”

Connolly said he would urge the faithful of his parish — who have already endured several instances of alleged or proven clergy abuse in earlier decades— to pray for both the person who brought the allegation forward and for their late pastor.

“The history of St. Brendan’s already, sadly, has a considerable connection to priests who were alleged to have been, and in fact were, abusers of children,” Connolly said. “With this history in mind, I’m aware of how upsetting this is. On top of this allegation, it’s the history that comes up. It will open old wounds and cause a great deal of pain and anguish for those who knew Father Lane.

“With all that in mind, I think the parish will deal with it. I can’t minimize how hard it will be, given Father Lane’s legacy and how much he’s loved and respected. I certainly think it’s important for us as a parish family to pray for the repose of the soul of Father Lane, but also for the person who brought forward the allegation as well as all of those suffered abuse as children. Whatever circumstances, it’s a terrible, terrible thing and all those affected are in need of our prayers and support as best we can give it.”