Sunday, November 27, 2005
Two women sue their priest father
LOWELL, Mass. --Two 20-year-old women have filed a lawsuit in Lowell Superior Court alleging that their father, a Catholic priest with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Lowell, has refused to acknowledge them as his daughters and has subjected them to physical, sexual and emotional abuse.
The Rev. Lucien Richard has acknowledged that he is the twins' father, but denies allegations that he rejected and abused them.
When the twins were young, the order was told that Richard had fathered the two girls and about the alleged abuse. Nevertheless, the order continued to support Richard as a priest and "failed to take steps to terminate or reduce his abuse," according to the lawsuit.
The twins, whose only address is listed in court documents as Hampshire County, are suing Richard and the Oblates for more than $200,000, according to court documents.
Richard, 73, told The Sun of Lowell that he has always acknowledged that he is the father and has paid more than $500,000 in support since they were babies and denies ever physically or sexually abusing them.
He has never been criminally charged, he said.
Richard said the lawsuit is an attempt by his daughters' mother to get more money from him.
Richard admits that having a priest for a father was an "emotional burden" for his daughters.
"I didn't give them the right kind of family situation. I regret that," he said.
But he tried his best, he said.
His daughters have moved frequently with their mother and he hasn't always been told where they are living, Richard said.
Alan Cantor, the twins' lawyer, said he would not comment without getting their authorization.
The girls were the result of an affair between Richard and a female student at Westin Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, where Richard was her professor, academic advisor and counselor.
He has never sought a DNA test to prove paternity.
He did tell his superiors at the Oblates about the children early on, and the Archdiocese of Boston was notified about a year ago. Richard, who has never been a parish priest, continued to teach.
After leaving the college in Cambridge, Richard has worked for the past decade teaching philosophy and theology at Boston University. Richard, who has health problems and uses a cane, has been on sabbatical and plans to retire at the end of the year.
"I love my daughters," he said. "(The lawsuit) hurts me, but I know this isn't from them."
See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.
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