DA drops charges against Msgr. Francis Strahan, Church investigation continues

BRAINTREE -- The Middlesex County District Attorney's Office has dropped the charges of rape and sexual assault against Msgr. Francis Strahan, but the Archdiocese of Boston plans to continue its own investigation into Msgr. Strahan's alleged misconduct with a minor.

The District Attorney's Office's filing, dated Sept. 20 and received by The Pilot on Sept. 27, states that the charges of forcible child rape and indecent assault and battery were dropped because the alleged victim declined to testify in court.

In 2019, a former altar boy at St. Bridget Parish in Framingham, where Msgr. Strahan was pastor, alleged that Msgr. Strahan assaulted him on two occasions between 2004 and 2008. Msgr. Strahan allegedly raped and sexually assaulted the boy while the two were alone in the church. On a separate occasion, also at the church, Msgr. Strahan allegedly pressed his body against the boy's. At the time, the alleged victim was between the ages of 11 and 13. When the allegations were made, Msgr. Strahan was 86.

According to the filing, the alleged victim, now 29 years old, informed the DA's office that as the trial approached, "his PTSD symptoms have increased, including difficulty sleeping, trouble concentrating and general functioning difficulties throughout the day."

It said that the victim explained that, "He only recently had begun to heal and be productive. He is worried that continued involvement in the prosecution Will set him back and further negatively impact his mental and physical health."

Without his testimony, there was not enough evidence to go to trial and the case was dismissed. The trial would have begun on Oct. 2.

The Archdiocese of Boston placed Msgr. Strahan on administrative leave on Oct. 25, 2019, and barred him from public ministry. In 2022, Msgr. Strahan, then 89, was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury. He subsequently resigned as pastor of St. Bridget's.

The Archdiocese of Boston's own investigation into Msgr. Strahan was put on hold due to the criminal proceedings against him, as well as a civil lawsuit that is still ongoing.

"Once all those matters have been concluded," the archdiocese said in a Sept. 27 statement, "the canonical investigation will resume."

Msgr. Strahan will remain on administrative leave throughout the archdiocese's investigation.

"We continue to seek a fair and just resolution to the matter," The archdiocese said. "And we ask for prayers for all impacted by this matter."