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Woman Says Priest Who Abused Her In 2000 Should Be Added To Public List Of Offenders

A woman who says she was first abused by a priest in 2000 is asking the Archdiocese of Boston to add his name to a public list of accused abusers, while her attorney is demanding seven more priests have their names added.

Nadine Tift, 37, told her story publicly for the first time Tuesday in a downtown Boston hotel conference room.

She says she was 17 when the Rev. John Sweeney sexually abused her and four friends during a retreat at her family's home in Stamford, Vermont.

"He came down, asked if I wanted to do a confession," Tift said. "We were teenagers who trusted this priest who did the exorcisms over us as if we were possessed."

Tift says she discovered three years ago that Sweeney was at a monastery in New Mexico. She says monks there were never told he had abused children.

The Archdiocese says Sweeney was no longer a priest by the time Tift formally accused two years ago; he was removed from the priesthood in 2013.

Tift's attorney, Mitchell Garabedian, is also demanding the Archdiocese add the names of seven other priests to its public list of priests accused of sexually abusing children.

"The Archdiocese should have listed the priests on their website so that the public could be aware that those priests caused severe harm to children," Garabedian said.

The Archdiocese says five of the priests are not listed because they had died when they were accused. Garabedian says adding their names will let victims know they weren't the only ones abused.

"The victims still feel pain even though the sexual abuser has passed away," he said.

Accusations against another priest, Arnold Kelley, were unsubstantiated, the Archdiocese says.

Garabedian refuted that claim.

"The Kelley claim is substantiated," Garabedian said. "Father Kelley could still be abusing."

The Archdiocese says accusations against the eighth priest, who is retired, are under preliminary investigation.

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Fred Thys Twitter Reporter
Fred Thys reports on politics and higher education for WBUR.

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