It is alleged that a Catholic priest from Lowell, Massachusetts fathered a son, Jim Graham, hence he exhumed the body to compare his DNA in order to get a definitive answer.

The Boston Globe reported that Graham has researched adoption records in the past that mention the priest and has even made petitions to Catholic leaders from all over, but has had no luck as of late. On Monday, the Catholic cemetery in Tewksbury, MA, allowed him to dig up the grave of Rev. Thomas Sullivan, Graham’s suspected father, in order to finally seek the truth.

A DNA sample was taken from Sullivan’s bone marrow, which will be compared with that of Graham’s DNA to see if the two are indeed father and son.

Body of priest exhumed to establish whether he fathered a child decades ago

— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) June 19, 2018

Graham, who is now 72, has long sought after closure in this matter, particularly in the form of acknowledgment from the Oblates, a two-hundred-year-old Catholic order, but they refused. His case is not a unique one given that thousands of people claim that their father is a Catholic priest, but they often lack the resources or funding to prove this since the church is adamant at keeping such matters secret.

He had received permission for the exhumation from Washington D.C.’s office of the Oblates, but in order to do so, he had countless hurdles to face. One of these obstacles was obtaining the permit from Tewksbury itself to dig up the property.

Furthermore, Graham also had to acquire a special drill to get into Sullivan’s bones and extract DNA that way since the flesh and other usual sources of genetic material would have long since decomposed.

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The testing will take place in Virginia at a genetic analysis lab owned by Bode Cellmark Forensics, which will be able to give Graham the results in about a month or so.

He is a member of a group of priests’ children, Coping International, which seeks to provide support for these ‘forgotten’ sons and daughters. The founder of the group, Vincent Doyle, who was the son of an Irish priest, is hopeful that Jim finds closure on this matter, but wonders if this step was a bit too far.

Body of priest exhumed to establish whether he fathered a child decades ago

— The Boston Globe (@BostonGlobe) June 19, 2018

“But this was really a last resort and I can’t help but wonder, after 70 years, was there not a simpler solution?” Doyle stated.

The Oblates argued that this matter could not have been solved otherwise because they remained adamant that they did not have the information that Graham was looking for, hence this way the only way to find a genuine answer.

Graham believes that they are not telling him the full story, which can be backed up by records he has obtained through a detective agency that show him as an out of wedlock child with an “alleged father” living close by.

Information from the church that he did receive, however, indicated that Sullivan most likely left the Oblates to move to New York around the same time as Graham’s mother did, suggesting a probable connection between the two.

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