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Priest convicted of raping boy at Massachusetts summer camp in early 1980s

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LAWRENCE, Massachusetts — A retired Roman Catholic priest was found guilty Wednesday of repeatedly raping a young boy in the 1980s at a Massachusetts summer camp operated by his religious order.

The Rev. Richard McCormick was convicted in Lawrence Superior Court of five counts of child rape that prosecutors said occurred between 1981 and 1982 at the now-defunct Salesian Brothers' Sacred Heart retreat center in Ipswich. He is to be sentenced Dec. 18.

The victim, now 44, wept in court as the verdicts were read and said outside court he felt vindicated, The Salem News reported (http://bit.ly/1xyCsU4).

The man testified that McCormick took him out of activities or woke him late at night to force him into sexual acts. He was between 10 and 12 at the time. The man said he disclosed the abuse to a former girlfriend more than 20 years ago, but didn't go to authorities until just a few years ago after he found McCormick's name and image in a directory of priests online.

McCormick's attorney said in his closing arguments that his client's accuser was motivated by money and the state had no evidence McCormick committed the crimes.

"Rape of a child is a heinous crime," District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett said after the verdict. "It is a fundamental violation of a child's innocence that can never be truly restored. My hope is that these guilty verdicts allow this brave man to find some peace of mind, knowing that none of this was his fault."

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian, who represents the man in a related civil claim, said in a statement: "By coming forward, my client has empowered himself and made the world a safer place for children.


Information from: The Salem (Mass.) News, http://www.salemnews.com

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