A Roman Catholic priest from Massachusetts accused of sexually assaulting a child more than a decade ago has been indicted by a grand jury on forcible child rape and indecent assault and battery charges, authorities said Tuesday.
Monsignor Francis Strahan, 89, assaulted an altar boy on two occasions from 2004 until 2008 when the boy was between the ages of 11 and 13, according to a joint statement from Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Framingham police Chief Lester Baker.
Strahan’s attorney said his client denies the allegations.
“Father Strahan is not guilty,” Thomas Hoopes said. “This is a gross injustice for a man who has devoted his life to serving people and his parish.”
Strahan was the pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Framingham at the time, authorities said. The boy was raped and sexually assaulted after he had been dropped off at the church and was alone with the defendant, they said.
On another occasion, the defendant allegedly pressed his body against the boy at the church, the statement said.
The Archdiocese of Boston cooperated with the criminal investigation, and started its own investigation that will remain on hold pending the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, the archdiocese said in a statement.
Strahan was placed on administrative leave in October 2019 when the archdiocese learned of the allegations. He will remain on administrative leave and cannot perform any public ministry pending the outcome of the case. He has resigned as pastor of St. Bridget, a position he held since 1983.
“We pray for a just and fair resolution to these proceedings for all involved," the statement said.
Resources: You can reach the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). You can also visit online.rainn.org to receive support via confidential online chat.