NY Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Abuse in Mass.

The Rev. Richard McCormick, 71, was granted $1,000 bail at his arraignment in Salem Superior Court and allowed to return to the Salesian Brothers of Don Bosco facility in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he lives and where he was arrested Thursday.

Friday, Aug 31, 2012  |  Updated 11:18 PM EDT
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NY Priest Pleads Not Guilty to Sex Abuse in Mass.

A former high-ranking member of a Roman Catholic religious order accused of molesting a boy at a Massachusetts camp decades ago was released Friday after pleading not guilty to five counts of child rape.

The Rev. Richard McCormick, 71, was granted $1,000 bail at his arraignment in Salem Superior Court and allowed to return to the Salesian Brothers of Don Bosco facility in New Rochelle, N.Y., where he lives and where he was arrested Thursday. Prosecutors had asked for $75,000 bail.

At Friday's hearing, prosecutor Kate MacDougall said McCormick allegedly took the boy from a dormitory and raped him in an office at the camp. She said the boy was so frightened of McCormick that he would hide under his brother's camp bunk, or in nearby woods.

The alleged assaults took place in Ipswich in 1981 and 1982 when the alleged victim was about 11 and 12 years old, said Carrie Kimball-Monahan, a spokeswoman for the Essex district attorney.

McCormick was arrested following a yearlong investigation launched when the alleged victim went to authorities, she said.

Mitchell Garabedian, who is the civil representative for the man who made the criminal complaint, said the alleged abuse took place at a camp called Sacred Heart Retreat House, run by the Salesian Brothers.

McCormick went on to become the leader of the order for the eastern U.S., Garabedian said.

The camp no longer exists.

Garabedian has settled nine civil cases with the Salesians involving McCormick, he said, although there is no lawsuit pending in connection with the current criminal case. The alleged victim's name was not disclosed.

The Rev. Steve Dumais, vice provincial for the Salesians in New Rochelle, attended the arraignment and was appointed by the judge to serve as McCormick's custodian. Dumais said McCormick is not actively working as a priest and has no contact with children.

Dumais told reporters outside court he was there to support McCormick, but also said the order takes the allegations seriously. "We are doing our very best to support the work of the authorities the best we can,'" he said.

A message was left Friday for McCormick's lawyer.

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