Sex charges leveled against Boston priest

MARK JEWELL, Associated Press

The head of a Catholic-run hospital system faced new allegations of sexual harassment Monday, following complaints of unwanted hugging and kissing of female employees.

Cardinal Sean O’Malley, head of the Boston Archdiocese, asked the governing board of Caritas Christi Health Care to meet again Wednesday to reconsider its response to the allegations against Dr. Robert M. Haddad, who had been reprimanded.

"New complaints of misconduct involving Dr. Robert Haddad have been received and are being investigated," the archdiocese said in a statement.

Haddad, 52, who is of Lebanese descent, said Monday that a cultural misunderstanding was to blame.

"In my Lebanese culture, hugs and kisses among men and women are not only expected, but warmly given and received," Haddad said.

He said he was "stunned to learn that some of my actions may have been misinterpreted; at no time was I aware of making anyone uncomfortable."

Helen Drinan, Caritas’ executive vice president for human resources, said that her office had received several new accusations Monday from female employees.

The decision not to fire Haddad has been harshly criticized by Drinan – who took the initial complaints – and others who compare the situation to the archdiocese’s initial response to reports of sexual abuse of children by priests.

Haddad was directed to undergo sexual harassment sensitivity training and was told he would be fired in the event of another credible harassment complaint, the archdiocese said.

O’Malley was installed as Boston’s bishop in 2003 to help the archdiocese heal after a widespread clergy sexual abuse scandal.

Leave a Reply