By Christina Hager

BOSTON (CBS) – “Welcome to all,” says the sign over the Greater Victory Temple in Mattapan. But on Monday, the doors were locked. Bishop George Swain, whose name is on the sign, is accused of sexually assaulting three children, ages eight to 16 years old.

“It really shocked me, and I was really surprised that happened,” said a woman who lives in the neighborhood, but wanted to stay anonymous. “He was arrested. It’s really sad, and it’s quite concerning.”

Bishop Swain answered to a judge by phone in his arraignment. “During the timeframe of 1997 to 2004, the defendant is charged with sexually assaulting these three children at the time repeatedly and over years,” said prosecutor Audrey Mark. “He also provided them money.” She said it happened in his church office, the vestibule, and in the Dorchester home where he lived at the time.

Greater Victory Temple in Mattapan (WBZ-TV)

“Each of these children were encouraged by their families to spend time at the church, and with the defendant particularly, because he was seen as a role model, and the victims’ families all looked up to him.”

“Total shock really,” said Darren Straker, the owner of Caribbean Flavors restaurant a few doors down. “He was a good guy in the neighborhood. I mean he helped the guys out around the neighborhood.”

In court, Swain’s defense attorney said he was at Carney Hospital because his medical problems make jail too dangerous. “COVID numbers are going up in the jails. Not only is COVID a concern for him because of his age, 71-years old, also because of his breathing difficulty,” said attorney Lauren Greenberg. Outside court she added, “he denies the allegations.”

Swain is being held on $75,000 on each of two counts. A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf.

Christina Hager

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