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Priest Charged With 1980's Child Rape In Ipswich

IPSWICH (CBS)- A high ranking member of the Catholic Church faces five counts of child rape in Essex Superior Court.

Father Richard McCormick is accused of assaulting a boy at a summer camp in 1981 and 1982, when the victim was 9 and 10 years old.

Now a grown man, the victim told his story to the District Attorney's Office last year. After a lengthy investigation, Ipswich Police traveled to McCormick's residence in New Rochelle, New York, to make the arrest.

At an arraignment Friday, Assistant District Attorney Kate MacDougall said the victim would run into the woods surrounding the now defunct Sacred Heart Retreat Center to hide from McCormick. At the time, McCormick served as Provincial of the Salesians of Don Bosco in the Eastern Province. He lead hundreds of priests and brothers throughout the United States and Canada.

"[It is] significant that he was a Provincial at one point in time… One has to wonder, under his watch, while he was leader, what he was allowing to happen to children," said civil attorney Mitchell Garabedian upon hearing news of the arrest.

Garabedian represents the alleged victim. In 2008, Garabedian negotiated a settlement with the Salesians on behalf of nine alleged McCormick victims. Since that time, Salesian officials restricted his access to children and limited his duties at the Provincial Residence in New Rochelle, New York.

In 2002, McCormick was accused of inappropriate behavior with a high school girl in Tampa, Florida.

Judge Timothy Feeley released McCormick on $1,000 cash bail and appointed a custodian, Rev. Steve Dumais.

Dumais currently serves as a Vice Provincial in the church and will be responsible for ensuring McCormick obeys the conditions of his release.

"It's like family. When family is in trouble, you try to stand behind your family as best you can. We're trying to do that but at the same time not undermining or denigrating the hurt of those involved," said Dumais after Friday's hearing.

McCormick is represented by Attorney Steve Neyman. His next court date is October 23rd.

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