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Monsignor Cleared of Abuse Charges

September 12, 2002

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BOSTON (AP) _ The Boston Archdiocese’s top canon lawyer has been formally cleared of sex abuse charges, one week after his accuser withdrew a lawsuit amid questions about his credibility, according to a published report.

The church was expected to announce Thursday that Monsignor Michael Smith Foster had been cleared and was being reinstated as the archdiocese’s judicial vicar, The Boston Globe reported in its Thursday editions.

A spokeswoman for Foster, Helene Solomon, declined to comment Thursday morning.

Archdiocese spokeswoman Donna Morrissey did not immediately return a phone call Thursday.

Paul Edwards, a former altar boy, had alleged in the lawsuit that Foster molested him numerous times between 1980 and 1985 while Foster was at a Newton parish.

But serious doubt was cast on Edwards’ credibility after the Globe interviewed several acquaintances of Edwards who pointed to factual errors in his accounts. Foster has denied Edwards’ allegations.

Edwards’ attorney withdrew from the case shortly after the report, and the case was dismissed Sept. 3. Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel Conley said his office had launched a criminal inquiry.

The unraveling of Foster’s case prompted an outcry among advocates for priests, who said priests were being publicly removed without due process.

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