- The Washington Times - Monday, October 7, 2002

JAFFREY, N.H. (AP) Bishop John B. McCormack confronted angry parishioners yesterday as he explained why he assigned to their church a priest who had a sexual relationship with a teenage boy.
"Don't accuse me of lying. I'm not lying," he shouted as many in the crowd of about 200 at St. Patrick Church accused him of withholding information about the Rev. Roland Cote.
Asked by several people to resign, the bishop responded: "I have no intention of resigning. I am here to serve."
Bishop McCormack celebrated Mass and took questions from the congregation to discuss the accusations against Father Cote, assigned to the church in June. Father Cote greeted the bishop at the church, but did not attend the service.
In April, Father Cote was accused of sexual misconduct with a teenage boy during the 1980s. Father Cote has acknowledged the relationship but said the young man was at least 18 at the time. Sixteen is the age of sexual consent in New Hampshire.
The man, now 35, told authorities that Father Cote molested him while assigned to St. Patrick's Church in Newport.
Before Mass, about 40 people picketed at the church, carrying signs saying, "Rectify, Redeem, Resign," and "No $$ to diocese until McCormack resigns."
During the discussion after the service, the bishop was asked why he didn't tell the community about Father Cote's history. Bishop McCormack said it was a private matter that violated neither the law nor church policy.
He said he decided to assign Father Cote to Jaffrey because "it was not anticipated that this would be public."
Afterward, some parishioners said they mistrust Bishop McCormack. "It's the same cowardly attitude he has with all of this," Michael Neyens said. "This guy covers his own backside. He has no concerns for the people he ministers to."

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