Boston's Catholic Archdiocese has hired a law firm and a former U.S. attorney to lead an investigation into three Boston-area seminaries run by the archdiocese following abuse allegations related to one of them.
Cardinal Sean O'Malley announced the decision to expand the investigation into St. John Seminary in Boston's Brighton neighborhood to two others -- Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary in Weston and Redemptoris Mater Seminary in Chestnut Hill -- on Thursday afternoon in a lengthy statement.
"I have concluded that to meet the generally expected levels of transparency and accountability, it is best to expand the review to include all three seminaries," O'Malley said, who added that each member of the original committee also had some kind of connection to St. John's Seminary.
The law firm of Yurko, Salvesen & Remz was appointed to conduct the new review, which will be led by Donald K. Stern, who served as Massachusetts' U.S. attorney from 1993 to 2001.
An inquiry into allegations of "sexual deviancy and improper conduct" at St. John's Seminary was launched in August after a former seminarian wrote about his experiences involving inappropriate sexual behavior and excessive drinking at the seminary.
"Since the expanded investigation authorized by the Archdiocese of Boston is not truly independent, many clergy sexual abuse victims feel the investigation will be unfair and biased," Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney who has represented many clergy sex abuse victims, said in a statement. "History has taught us that the Archdiocese of Boston is incapable of having itself fairly investigated by an entity the Archdiocese of Boston has hired to conduct the investigation."