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Springfield Diocese adds Joseph P. Quinlan to its roster of priests credibly accused of sexual abuse

Bishop William Byrne at podium (copy)

A priest who served the Diocese of Springfield from 1971 until his death in 1989 was added Monday to the list of those credibly accused of sexual abuse.

The diocese listed the name of Joseph P. Quinlan on its online directory of priests and other church personnel against whom an allegation of abuse — in this instance, it was sexual abuse of a minor — has been upheld by the Review Board.

The diocese says it updates that list quarterly.

Quinlan was ordained at age 43 and was a longtime director of Cathedral High School in Springfield. He served or lived in four parishes. He never was in charge of a parish in Berkshire County, according to the diocese, whose list of credibly accused priests, updated in June, included 33 from Berkshire County.

A 34th priest from Berkshire County, the late James Paul Menge, was added to the list in September. He became one of 11 priests who served in North Adams to be listed.

The allegation against Quinlan related to sexual misconduct in 1974.

“The Review Board carefully reviewed this allegation, including a report issued by the diocesan investigative team, and found this allegation to be credible,” the diocese said in a statement Monday.

School, city still recovering from tornado (copy)

Damage is evident around Cathedral High School in Springfield after a tornado hit the area in June 2011. Joseph P. Quinlan was a longtime director of the school.

Because Quinlan died in 1989, he had been shielded by an earlier diocesan policy, abandoned last spring, not to find an allegation against a deceased priest credible.

Anyone with information on misconduct can report it to law enforcement officials and to the church’s Office of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance. That office can be reached at 413-452-0624. The diocese also runs a hotline (800-842-9055) and can be reached by email at reportabuse@diospringfield.org.

Quinlan served at the following diocesan locations: St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Palmer (1971-1976); Cathedral High School, Springfield (1976-1989); Our Lady of the Sacred Heart Parish, Springfield (where he lived from 1976-1981); St. Joseph Parish, Springfield (where he lived in 1981); and St. Joseph’s Mission, East Longmeadow (1978-1989).

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com and 413-588-8341.

Investigations editor

Larry Parnass joined The Eagle in 2016 from the Daily Hampshire Gazette, where he was editor in chief. His freelance work has appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, Hartford Courant, CommonWealth Magazine and with the Reuters news service.

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