A reminder removed

A reminder removed

A statue depicting a priest accused of sex abuse was removed from the grounds of an East Boston parish he served during the first half of the 20th century. (More details)

Fr. Louis Toma was accused of abusing many young girls during his 50 years at St. Lazarus parish, which was merged with St. Joseph parish in 1985. Toma was born in Italy and was pastor of the parish from 1911 to 1961, when he died. The star-crossed parish also had another abusive priest assigned to it in the 1970s. The parish’s youth center is still named for Toma, but my guess is that will change quickly.

The removal came at the request of Barbara Thorp, director of the Victims’ Support Office of the archdiocese, who said that a number of women had filed complaints about Toma in recent years and their stories were so consistent and convincing, individually and collectively, that the archdiocese decided that they were credible. I can’t imagine having to endure the sight of a monument to your abuser every time you went to Mass for the past 45 years.

Sometimes it’s the symbolic gestures that mean the most. I doubt a settlement check would have provided the satisfaction that the removal of the monument did. I have a feeling we’re going to be seeing scenes like this for some time to come.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli