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Two priests return to public ministry

By Christine Tolfree
Posted: 6/10/2005

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Two priests who had been placed on administrative leave in 2003 will be returning to active ministry.

Father Edward F. Sherry will return to his position as pastor of Church of the Nativity Parish in Merrimac. He was placed on leave in 2003 after a lawsuit alleged that he abused a minor over 30 years ago, according to a statement issued by the archdiocese June 5.

"Unable to substantiate this claim after a careful review of the information available, the Review Board recently recommended that all restrictions be lifted on Father Sherry's exercise of public ministry," the release said.

In a statement issued June 7, the archdiocese also announced that Msgr. Robert Fichtner would also return to active ministry.

"In 2003, Msgr. Fichtner was placed on administrative leave following the receipt of a single complaint of sexual abuse of a minor more than 20 years ago. After careful review of the information available regarding the complaint, the Review Board determined that the allegation was unsubstantiated," the statement said.

Msgr. Fichtner was retired at the time the archdiocese received the allegation.

"The archbishop reiterates his concern for all persons impacted by the tragedy of sexual abuse, 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 concerned," the release said.