Archdiocese of Boston Reaches Settlement with Reported Victim of Priest in Jamaica Plain

The Archdiocese of Boston has reached a five-figure settlement with a man, who says as a boy, he was sexually abused by a priest at the St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Jamaica Plain in the 1970s.  

According to a civil lawsuit complaint, when he was between the ages of 10 to 13, William Brown was sexually abused by Father Arnold Kelley, who now lives in Lawrence, Massachusetts. Brown was a parishioner, band member and religious education student (CCD) at St. Aquinas Parish (located at 97 South St.). Kelley was assigned to the St. Aquinas Parish from 1966 to 1976.

Brown filed a civil lawsuit in the Essex County Superior Court in 2016 after coming forward alleging that Kelley sexually abused him from 1973 to 1976.

As early as 1997, the Archdiocese of Boston was made aware of sexual abuse allegations by a child against Kelley at St. Rita’s Parish in Lowell. A media conference announcing the settlement was held on the sidewalk outside of St. Rita’s on Jan. 3rd.

“My client, by coming forward, is creating transparency which the Catholic Church should create but refuses to. In doing so William Brown is empowering himself, other victims and making the world a safer place for children,” said Mitchell Garabedian, Brown’s attorney. “This is another example of purportedly the most moral institution in the world acting the most immorally.”

“William Brown is a courageous man for coming forward to hold his sexual abuser accountable and empower others who may need healing and recovery.  The financial settlement of five figures is largely symbolic, for no amount of money will restore William Brown’s childhood and innocence. However, the settlement is a sign that the Archdiocese of Boston has found Mr. Brown credible which gives him a degree of closure in the matter,” said Robert M. Hoatson, president of Road to Recovery, Inc., a non-profit charity based in New Jersey that assists victims of sexual abuse and their families, and was an advocate for Brown.

The Archdiocese of Boston did not return a request for comment.