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Pembroke parents accuse Concord priest of making sexual comments to son

The parents of a 14-year-old Pembroke boy have accused a priest at St. John’s Regional School in Concord of making inappropriate comments about sex and pornography to their son while the two talked during the sacrament of confession last December.

In a lawsuit filed today by the boy’s parents against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester, the Rev. George Desjardins is accused of asking the boy if he had “engaged in watching pornographic material and masturbating.” When the boy said that he hadn’t and that he had a girlfriend, Desjardins went on to tell the boy to use “rubbers” and warned him that the a girl can “yell ‘rape’ ” during sex, the lawsuit alleges.

Kevin Donovan, the diocese’s spokesman, said this afternoon that he had just received the lawsuit and was unable to comment. According to the lawsuit, Desjardins is officially retired but still working in some form at the school.

The family’s lawyer, Peter Hutchins, said the comments were completely unsolicited and called the actions “classic grooming.”

“You can have an issue of, I guess, crossing boundaries, you know, getting too friendly with a kid. . . . But certainly a question like this and then the next follow-up comments are just so totally over the top,” Hutchins said.

Twice since the December confession, after the family raised concerns with school administrators, Desjardins has approached the boy after Masses at the school, according to Hutchins.

“They were coming out of Mass, and the priest went up to him and grabbed him by both hands and kind of looked at him, and it was obviously upsetting to the child and he got away. . . . A more appropriate response would have been for the priest to just leave the child alone,” Hutchins said.

The lawsuit accuses the diocese of breaching the contract entered when the family agreed to pay tuition in exchange for, among other things, a safe learning environment for their son. The parents’ names are being withheld to protect the boy’s identity.

For more details, read tomorrow’s Monitor.

(Tricia L. Nadolny can be reached at 369-3306 or tnadolny@cmonitor.com or on Twitter at @tricia_nadolny.)

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