How many times should a priest be investigated for the same accusations? Paul Edwards accused Msgr. Michael Foster, chief canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of Boston, and another now-deceased priest of having molested him in the early 80s. Some of his factual statements were disputed and shown to be false. His lawyer quit the lawsuit and the lawsuit was subsequently withdrawn by Edwards, with prejudice (meaning it can never be re-filed). By the way, this fact is left out of the story linked above. So Foster was cleared.
But then Edwards met with archdiocesan officials, the investigation re-instated, and Foster was cleared again. Now the Boston Herald goes to bat for Edwards, writing several full-page stories claiming he was wrongly accused of lying, and saying Foster should be investigated a third time. Meanwhile, no other person has come forward to accuse Foster or the deceased priest of abuse.
The Herald’s conclusions are dubious. Just because Edwards knows American Sign Language doesn’t mean he wasn’t faking deafness in high school. Non-deaf people can learn it, too. And as for Edwards’ claim he was cop on Martha’s Vineyard, being a teenage auxiliary cop doesn’t count. It’s certainly a stretch. Of course, those questionable incidents should have no bearing one way or the other on the abuse allegations. If he was telling the truth about them, doesn’t mean he was telling the truth about the abuse, and if he was lying about them, doesn’t mean he was lying about the abuse.
The fact is that there were substantial holes in Edwards’ claims about the times he was allegedly abused. He said that he was abused by the now-dead priest during an overnight trip to New York, even though his classmates said that was a day trip, not an overnight trip. And so on.
Edwards had his day in court, Foster was investigated not once, but twice, and no one else can corroborate the stories. At what point does the pursuit of justice for Edwards become a travesty of justice for Foster?