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Pope chooses sex abuse troubleshooter for new Boston archbishop

Pope John Paul II has appointed Florida Bishop Sean Patrick O'Malley OFM Cap to lead the Boston Archdiocese, in the wake of last year's resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law following popular criticism for failing to deal appropriately with priests accused of sex abuse.

O'Malley gained national attention for cracking down on sex abuse in his two previous assignments, in Florida and Massachusetts.

As word emerged that the Franciscan would be tapped for the Boston job, lawyers for victims praised O'Malley for his handling of the scandal, although other victims' groups urged caution.

O'Malley was sent in to Fall River, Massachusetts, to clean up a crisis in the early 1990s when the Rev. James Porter was accused of molesting children. Porter ultimately pleaded guilty to molesting 28 children and was sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison.

"There could never be a better person in the country to have this job and to try to bring about real healing in the Archdiocese of Boston," said attorney Roderick MacLeish, who represented 101 of Porter's victims and is also one of the lead lawyers for hundreds of plaintiffs with cases against the archdiocese.

The lay victims group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said it welcomed O'Malley and would work with him, but stressed that "no one person can magically undo the horrific pain so many in this archdiocese feel."

National Catholic Reporter/AP

O'Malley Asks For Prayers, Collaboration (
O'Malley appointment well received in Boston (National Catholic Reporter)
Pope Names New Boston Archbishop After Sex Scandal (Reuters)
Pope Names Bishop Sean O'Malley as Archbishop of Boston (US Conference of Catholic Bishops)
Archdiocese of Boston | July 1, 2003 - Pope John Paul II has named Sean P. O'Malley O.F.M., Cap, Metropolitan Archbishop of Boston

2 Jul 2003