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BRIGHTON — A former school superintendent of the Archdiocese of Boston has been accused of sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy in the 1970s.
The accusation is one of 10 lawsuits brought against the archdiocese on Jan. 4. The other accused priests had been named in previous lawsuits.
In light of the lawsuit, Father Eugene Sullivan has accepted a voluntary leave of absence from his position as pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Weymouth “for the good of the parish,” according to an archdiocesan statement.
"Archbishop O'Malley intends to ask the Review Board to provide him with their counsel concerning the allegation against Father Sullivan, by way of offering him a recommendation as to whether or not Father Sullivan should be placed on administrative leave," the statement continued. "The archbishop wishes to reiterate his great concern for all persons impacted by the tragedy of sexual abuse, especially victims, as well as his firm intention to resolve cases of this type as expeditiously as possible, in a manner that is just for all parties involved."
Mark Martin claims Father Sullivan abused him in 1977 while on a drive to Camp Fatima, a Catholic summer camp for children in New Hampshire. At that time, Father Sullivan was superintendent of schools for the archdiocese and assistant director for education.
In a telephone interview with the Associated Press on Jan. 6, Martin said another priest arranged for Father Sullivan to give him a ride to Camp Fatima.
Martin, a construction worker who is now 42, seeks unspecified damages for emotional distress and financial expenses for therapeutic care and lost earnings capacity.
In his lawsuit, Martin claims he was also molested by Father Edward Kelley and the late Father Joseph Birmingham, who were then priests assigned to St. Columbkille Parish in Brighton. Martin’s suit also claims several Church supervisors were negligent because they did not remove the priests and names them as defendants.
Father Sullivan’s attorney said Martin may be confusing Father Sullivan with another priest with a similar name. Martin’s attorney, Michael Garabedian, said the correct priest was named. Garabedian filed the 10 lawsuits brought against the archdiocese last week.
The lawsuits are among at least 150 filed since the archdiocese settled over 500 cases in September 2003.