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January 7, 2021
Dear Friends in Christ,

As we begin this New Year, I pray that God will bless us all with His grace and bring peace to those in our community who have suffered greatly during the pandemic and the many other challenges we have all faced in 2020.

The scourge of clergy sexual abuse has deeply wounded so many people in our Church. It has touched every diocese worldwide and continues to affect us all – laity and clergy – in significant ways. Today, it is with a contrite heart and commitment to the healing process that I have published a list of clergy, diocesan and religious related to the Diocese of Fall River who have been credibly or publicly accused of committing sexual abuse of a minor.

The review of Diocesan records, some going back 70 years, was incredibly arduous and time consuming. While this review has taken longer than first anticipated, it was crucial that we took the time needed to do it right.

To all survivors of child sexual abuse, I am deeply sorry. We as a Church failed when you were most vulnerable. I firmly resolve to do all we can to help you heal, make certain we are accountable, and protect our children so that no other child suffers as you have.

It is part of our sacred mission to remain vigilant in efforts to protect children and vulnerable adults in our parishes, schools, programs and ministries. As we conducted this review of Diocesan records, our Diocese also revamped our Safe Environment program to strengthen our child protection efforts, as well as our protocols for handling allegations and responding to those impacted by abuse.

We require all personnel to submit to a background check, agree to a code of conduct, and complete a Safe Environment Training Program. Our Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful has detailed instructions for Diocesan personnel who receive allegations of abuse. In addition, many Diocesan personnel are mandated reporters. We have a dedicated Victim Assistance Coordinator, a licensed social worker, who is the first point of contact when an allegation is received and works closely with me to ensure that we are adequately addressing the rights and needs of any victims.

If you, or anyone you know, have suffered abuse by a priest or someone affiliated with the Diocese of Fall River, I urge you to call our Victim Assistance Coordinator at 508-985-6508 or visit our website. You have my assurance that your voice will be heard.

It is my prayerful and deepest hope that the publication of this list will help in the ongoing healing and care of survivors of clergy sexual abuse.  They are of paramount concern to me and remain always in my prayers.

To every one of you who has suffered, I know that finding the ability to trust again is a slow and difficult journey. Together, may we find hope in Jesus Christ. May the Blessed Virgin Mary be a mother to us all, and may God grant us peace.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V.
Bishop of Fall River

The Edward Davis Company Review

Edward F. Davis is the President and CEO of The Edward Davis Company, a business strategy and security consulting and services firm. Davis has brought together a team of security and technology solutions experts including former federal, state, and local law enforcement, military officials, researchers and attorneys. Davis has been in law enforcement for 35 years. He served as the Police Commissioner of the City of Boston from December 2006 until October 2013. He led the highly successful response to the Boston Marathon bombing. While serving as Commissioner, Davis established a nationally recognized rebranding initiative stressing honesty and transparency using social media and direct contact with the community. Prior to that, Davis was the Superintendent of the Lowell Police Department, a position he held for 12 years and one he rose to after starting out as a patrol officer in 1978. He comes from a police family, which has allowed him to better understand the needs of police officers and the communities they serve. In his leadership roles in Boston and Lowell, Davis was responsible for the oversight and direction of all investigative divisions including the Crimes Against Children and Family Services Units. He is a recognized expert in crisis management and community policing. He brings with him a strong record of interagency collaboration and a broad range of local, state, national and international experience in law enforcement and public safety. 

Commissioner Davis has been recognized for his efforts locally and nationally, including through the Police Executive Research Forum, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Major Cities Chiefs Association, where he held a board position. Davis was a past co-chair of the IACP, Research Advisory Committee since 2011. Davis was inducted into Evidence Based Policing Hall of Fame, George Mason University, in 2011. 

Click Here to Read the Review Letter to Bishop da Cunha

Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Introduction

In 2019, in a public letter, Bishop da Cunha announced the intention of the Diocese of Fall River to publish a list of clergy against whom credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made.

The list published here contains the names of clergy who have been incardinated or ministered in the Diocese of Fall River and have been credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Most of the allegations pertain to abuse alleged to have taken place many decades ago; approximately half of those on this list are deceased. It is for the survivors of clergy sexual abuse that we publish this list. We know there has been grave damage done and that this is long overdue. It is the Diocese’s hope that publishing this list will help bring healing to the survivors and their families who have been so grievously harmed. The publication of this list is also an expression of our sincere commitment to transparency and accountability.

Compiling the List

The Diocese underwent a lengthy process to compile and maintain this list. The first steps involved the collection of 70 plus years of data. This was not clear cut given that files were kept in various locations, were neither digitized nor organized, and included everything from academic records, to vacation requests, to other forms of correspondence. Early on, it was quite clear that, historically, the record-keeping was inadequate and incomplete and that we would not be able to complete our review as quickly as we had hoped.  While this review, conducted with the assistance of experts in the field, took longer than first thought, it was essential that we took the time needed to do it right.

Expert Assistance

An initial evaluation of the files was performed by former Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Assistant Director William Gavin of The Gavin Group. After an initial review of the files, the Diocese engaged Kinsale Management Consulting, under the leadership of Kathleen McChesney, Ph.D., former Executive Assistant Director for the FBI and former head of the Office of Child Protection of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.  Among other things, Kinsale provides expertise on prevention and response to allegations of abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, and in this case conducted a detailed file review to identify allegations against individual priests.

The Diocese then engaged the law firm Ropes & Gray LLP to assist it in creating and publishing this list. Ropes & Gray conducted a further investigation and review of Diocesan records and legal files and, at the conclusion of its review, provided a summary of its findings to a core advisory group from the Diocese.

The Core Advisory Group consisted of:

  • Fr. Richard Wilson, Vicar General
  • Fr. John Murray, Moderator of the Curia
  • Mr. Kevin Kiley, Chancellor
  • Mrs. Lorraine Levy, Director of Professional Standards and Oversight
  • Mr. Michael Carroll, General Counsel and Chief Legal Officer

After careful review, the Core Advisory Group presented its findings to The Edward Davis Company to conduct a third-party review (see The Edward Davis Company Review). Led by former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, The Edward Davis Company is comprised of a team of former law enforcement officials with deep knowledge of investigations and experience in protecting victims of crime. The Edward Davis Company was given access to clergy files and other relevant information, in order to advise Bishop da Cunha on whether the process (described above) was thorough, fair, and reasonable, to review the placement and category for each name considered for publication, and to present recommendations to Bishop da Cunha. After review and consideration by Bishop da Cunha, the published list reflects those recommendations.

Though the Diocese has taken great care to prepare this list, we understand that this information may still be imperfect. We appreciated the gravity of this effort and did all we could to make the best judgments based on the information available. We are committed to maintaining this list and updating it if and when new information becomes available.

Criteria and Standard of Proof

The Diocese prepared a standard of review to guide its decisions in preparing this list. It adopted the definitions of “minor” and “sexual abuse of a child” from the Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful.

While the Diocese already had a review board in place, in 2020, it updated its policies and reconstituted the review board as the Ministerial Review Board (MRB). The purpose of the MRB is to review allegations made against clergy and make recommendations to the Bishop. The MRB includes a former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court; a retired Senior Executive of the FBI; a Lieutenant Colonel Judge Advocate (Retired) with the United States Marine Corps with experience in sexual abuse matters; a psychologist specializing in child, adolescent and adult trauma and treatment of youth with sexual behavior problems; a licensed social worker; a registered nurse; and others. A complete list of MRB members and their titles can be found here.

When making determinations about the evidence presented to the MRB, the Ministerial Review Board Policy provides:

6.5 The MRB will be required to assess the credibility of the allegations, specifically whether the allegation has a “semblance of truth” under canon law, using a standard of proof approximating probable cause, and whether the allegations conform to the definition of sexual abuse of a minor as outlined in the policy developed and adopted by the Diocese of Fall River.

The Core Advisory Group adopted this same standard of proof in evaluating the credibility of the allegations made against a priest. It found allegations credible when they had “a ‘semblance of truth’ under canon law, using a standard of proof approximating probable cause[.]”

Frequently Asked Questions

The Diocese has published a “Frequently Asked Questions” document that addresses many of the topics raised, including:

  • The commitments of the Diocese pertaining to eradicating and addressing clergy sexual abuse;
  • Steps the Diocese takes when it receives an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult;
  • Review of Diocesan policies and procedures;
  • Prevention of child sexual abuse in Diocesan parishes, schools, and ministries;
  • Understanding the Ministerial Review Board and how it functions; and
  • Removal of credibly accused priests.

Categories

The list includes the following three main categories. To access each category, please click the category name or links below.

Credibly Accused:

Includes priests, seminarians, and other religious against whom an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was made that meets the semblance of truth standard defined above and who were incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River and/or assigned to public ministry in the Diocese of Fall River. This category is divided into three subcategories: (A) Incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River; (B) Other Diocese; and (C) Religious Order. For those in sub-categories B and C, respectively, the priest was incardinated in another diocese or was a member of a religious order but exercised public ministry in the Diocese of Fall River.
CLICK TO VIEW LIST OF CREDIBLY ACCUSED

Publicly Accused:

Includes priests, seminarians, or other religious who were either incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River or who were assigned to public ministry in the Diocese of Fall River, and have been publicly named in media reports, third party lists prepared by advocacy groups and/or other dioceses and religious orders, as having allegations against them involving sexual abuse of a minor. The individuals included are clergy or other religious against whom a publicized accusation was made, but for whom the Diocese lacks sufficient information at this time to make its own determination whether the accusation was credible. In some cases, a religious order or other diocese may have determined that the priest was credibly accused after investigation or upon admission of the priest.

It is important to note that just because a name appears on the publicly accused list, that does not necessarily mean that the individual was accused of abusing a child in the Diocese of Fall River. For example, a priest may have been publicly accused of abuse in another diocese or may appear on a credibly accused list for a religious order for allegations unrelated to the Diocese of Fall River. If we were able to confirm that the priest also worked in the Diocese of Fall River at some point in his career, we have included the priest on the publicly accused list even if the Diocese did not itself receive an allegation regarding that priest.
CLICK TO VIEW LIST OF PUBLICLY ACCUSED

Cases in Progress:

Includes living priests of the Diocese of Fall River who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing a minor, but the canonical and/or civil proceedings involving these priests have not yet been resolved. There has not been a determination either under canon (Church) or civil law regarding whether the allegations against clergy listed in this category are credible. Consistent with the principles of the American justice system and Church law, these individuals are afforded a presumption of innocence. The priests in this section are prohibited from engaging in public ministry while their cases are in process.
CLICK TO VIEW LIST OF CASES IN PROGRESS

Note: This list is provided based on information available at the time it is published. If the need arises to add names to this list based on the criteria explained above, the Diocese will do so.

Quick Links

Lists of Clergy Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor:

Credibly Accused

This category includes priests, seminarians, and other religious against whom an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was made that meets the semblance of truth standard previously defined and who were incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River and/or assigned to public ministry in the Diocese of Fall River.

This category is divided into three subcategories:

For those in sub-categories B and C, respectively, the priest was incardinated in another diocese or was a member of a religious order but exercised public ministry in the Diocese of Fall River.

A. Incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River

NameYear of BirthYear of OrdinationDiocese of IncardinationAssignment History in the
Diocese of Fall River
Status
Andrade, Manuel Jr.19261949Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Anthony of Padua, Fall River
St. John of God, Somerset
Santo Christo, Fall River
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, New Bedford
Our Lady of the Angels, Fall River
Espirito Santo, Fall River
Immaculate Conception, New Bedford
Our Lady of Health, Fall River
St. Michael, Fall River
St. John the Baptist, New Bedford
St. Anthony, Taunton
Deceased (1995)
Annunziato, Armando19311956Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary, North Attleboro
St. Francis of Assisi, New Bedford
St. Mary’s Home, New Bedford
St. Vincent’s Home, Fall River
St. Bernard, Assonet
St. James, New Bedford
St. Mary, Mansfield
Deceased (1993)
Avila, Jose M. Bettencourt e (aka George Avellar)119061930Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Anthony, Taunton
Immaculate Conception, New Bedford
Our Lady of Health, Fall River
St. Anthony, East Falmouth
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, New Bedford
Deceased (1988)
Baker, William F.19491977Diocese of Fall RiverSt. John, Attleboro
St. Patrick, Falmouth
Our Lady of Grace, Westport
St. Mary, Seekonk
St. Joseph, Fall River
Faculties Removed;Laicized (2015)
Barney, H. Stanley19491975Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Dominic, Swansea
Sacred Heart, Fall River
St. Pius X, South Yarmouth
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville
St. George, Westport
St. Mary, Mansfield
Faculties Removed
Bernier, Adrien E.19191957Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Michael, Ocean GroveNotre Dame, Fall River
St. Mathieu, Fall River
Sacred Heart, New Bedford
St. Anne, New Bedford
Deceased (1989)
Boffa, William J.19491975Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Louis and
St. Joseph, Fall River
Our Lady of Grace, Westport
Immaculate Conception, North Easton
St. Vincent de Paul Camp, Westport
St. Joseph, Taunton
Coyle & Cassidy High School, Taunton
Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk
St. John Neumann, East Freetown
St. William, Fall River
St. Stephen, Attleboro
St. Pius X, South Yarmouth
Faculties Removed
Boulet, Normand J.19401969Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Hyacinth, New Bedford
St. Stephen, Dodgeville
St. Joseph, Attleboro
Boy Scouts of America, Attleboro
Immaculate Conception, Taunton
Our Lady of Grace, Westport
Boy Scouts of America, New Bedford
St. Michael, Swansea
St. Anthony, New Bedford
St. Jacques, Taunton
Boy Scouts of America, Taunton
Faculties Removed;Deceased (2015)
Bowen, Donald J.19381964Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Patrick, Somerset
St. Joseph, North Dighton
St. Mary, Norton
St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro
Laicized (2007)
Buckley, James F.19311959Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary Cathedral, Fall River
Sacred Heart, Fall River
Immaculate Conception, Fall River
St. Joan of Arc, Orleans
St. Augustine, Vineyard Haven
St. Margaret, Buzzards Bay
Holy Redeemer, Chatham
Faculties Removed
Byington, Edward J.19391970Diocese of Fall RiverSt. John, Attleboro
Sacred Heart, Taunton
St. Patrick, Fall River
St. Paul, Taunton
St. George, Westport
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Seekonk
Girl Scouts of America, Attleboro Area
Sacred Heart, Fall River
St. Francis, Hyannis
St. Thomas More, Somerset
Faculties Removed
Clark, James A.19291955Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary, New Bedford
Bishop Feehan High School, Attleboro
Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Taunton
Laicized (2000); Deceased (2011)
Connolly, Paul G.19291956Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary, Taunton
Immaculate Conception, Fall River
St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis
St. Mary, New Bedford
St. Elizabeth, Edgartown
Faculties Removed;Deceased (2007)
Cronin, John P.19311957Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Patrick, Fall River
St. Vincent’s Home, Fall River
St. Bernard Church, Assonet
St. Joseph, Taunton
Our Lady of Fatima, Swansea
St. Joseph, North Dighton
St. Anne, Fall River
Faculties Removed;Deceased (2014)
de Souza, Maurice19121939Diocese of Fall RiverSt. John the Baptist, New Bedford
St. Anthony, East Falmouth
St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River
St. Anthony, Taunton
Our Lady of Health, Fall River
Deceased (1996)
Degagne, Richard E19541982Diocese of Fall RiverSt. John, AttleboroHoly Name, Fall River
St. Anthony of Padua, New Bedford
Notre Dame, Fall RiverSacred
Heart, North Attleboro
Immaculate Conception, Taunton
St. John Neumann, East Freetown
Immaculate Conception, North Easton
Faculties Removed
DeMello, Arthur T.19341962Diocese of Fall RiverOur Lady of Lourdes, Taunton
Our Lady of Health, Fall River
St. John of God, Somerset
St. Mary, Taunton
Immaculate Conception, New Bedford
St. Elizabeth, Fall River
Faculties Restricted;Deceased (2004)
dos Reis, Arthur C.19021926Diocese of Fall RiverHoly Family, East Taunton
St. Michael, Fall River Espirito Santo, Fall River
St. Anthony, Fall River
Our Lady of Health, Fall River
Santo Christo, Fall River
Deceased (1981)
Dupuis, J. Arthur G.19071933Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Joseph, Attleboro
Notre Dame, Fall River
St. Joseph Orphanage, Fall River
St. Louis de France, Swansea
Deceased (1975)
Dylla, Hugo18741899Diocese of Fall RiverOur Lady of Perpetual Help, New Bedford
Holy Rosary, Taunton
St. Stanislaus, Fall River
Holy Cross, Fall River
Deceased (1966)
Fahey, James W.19441970Diocese of Fall RiverOur Lady of the Assumption, Osterville
Immaculate Conception, North Easton
St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, South Attleboro
Faculties Restricted;Deceased (2016)
Fernandes, Stephen A.19501976Diocese of Fall RiverSt. John the Evangelist, Attleboro
Holy Name, New Bedford
Sts. Peter and Paul, Fall River
St. James, New Bedford
Christ the King, Mashpee
St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis
Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford
Faculties Removed;Laicized (2008)
Fraga, Bento R.19301956Diocese of Fall RiverSt. John of God, Somerset
St. Joseph, Taunton Holy Ghost, Attleboro
St. John the Baptist, New Bedford
St. Peter, Provincetown
St. Paul, Taunton
Faculties Removed;Deceased (2012)
Furtado, Steven R.19471973Diocese of Fall RiverOur Lady of Lourdes, Taunton
St. Luke’s Hospital, New Bedford
St. John, New Bedford
Charlton Memorial Hospital, Fall River
Sacred Heart, Fall River
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, New Bedford
Our Lady of Health, Fall River
St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River
Espirito Santo, Fall River
Holy Ghost, Attleboro
Faculties Removed;Deceased (2016)
Gomes, John A.19421969Diocese of Fall RiverOur Lady of Lourdes, Taunton
Boy Scouts of America, Taunton Area
St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River
Union-Truesdale Hospital, Fall River
St. John of God, Somerset
Sacred Heart, Oak Bluffs
Our Lady of the Angels, Fall River
St. Elizabeth, Fall River
Annunciation of the Lord, Taunton
St. Mary, South Dartmouth
Faculties Restricted
Herrera, Hernando19671998Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Joseph, Taunton
Coyle & Cassidy High School, Taunton
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Seekonk
St. Mary Cathedral, Fall River
Faculties Removed;Laicized (2004)
Higgins, Phillip J.19371973Diocese of Fall RiverSt. George, Westport
St. Peter, Provincetown
St. Lawrence, New Bedford
Faculties Removed;Deceased (2007)
Kaszynski, Robert S.19331960Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Patrick, Fall River
St. Stanislaus, Fall River
Faculties Removed;Deceased (2014)
Keliher, Cornelius J.19071932Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Patrick, Wareham
Our Lady of the Assumption, Osterville
St. Louis, Fall River
Sts. Peter and Paul, Fall River
St. Mary, Hebronville
Deceased (1993)
Kozanko, Andrew19742000Diocese of Fall RiverCorpus Christi, East Sandwich
Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Bedford
St. Anne’s Hospital, Fall River
Notre Dame, Fall River
St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis
Faculties Restricted
Kuhn, Michael F. 219571977Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary, Seekonk
Bishop Feehan High School, Attleboro
St. Mary Cathedral, Fall River
Paul VI High School, Fairfax, VA
St. Paul Chung, Chantilly, VA
Siena Academy Montessori –
St. Catherine of Siena, Great Falls, VA
Youth Apostles Institute, McLean, VA
Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, MD
Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
St. John’s Catholic Prep, Baltimore, MD
Marymount University, Arlington, VA
Faculties Restricted
Lacroix, Daniel W.19591988Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Vincent de Paul Camp, Westport
Holy Name Church, New Bedford
Holy Redeemer, Chatham
St. Patrick, Wareham
St. Mary, Mansfield
St. Francis Xavier, Acushnet
St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis
Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Seekonk
St. Mary, New Bedford
St. Joseph-
St. Theresa, New Bedford
Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford
Faculties Removed
Landry, David J.19621987Diocese of Fall RiverSt. John the Evangelist, Attleboro
St. Anne, Fall River
St. Mary, Taunton
Immaculate Conception, Taunton
St. Jacques, Taunton
St. Pius X, South Yarmouth
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville
Faculties Removed;Laicized (2020)
Maguire, Joseph D.19441970Diocese of Fall RiverSt. James, New Bedford
St. Patrick, Somerset
St. Patrick, Falmouth
Boy Scouts of Cape Cod Area
St. Elizabeth, Edgartown
Sacred Heart, Oak Bluffs
St. Joseph, Taunton
Faculties Removed;Laicized (2007)
McCarthy, Raymond W.19191945Diocese of Fall RiverSacred Heart, Fall River
St. Patrick, Somerset
St. Patrick, Fall River
St. Mark, Attleboro Falls
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville
St. John the Baptist, New Bedford
Faculties Removed;Deceased (2005)
Messier, Donald E.19731968Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Jean Baptiste, Fall River
St. Mathieu, Fall River
Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford
St. Patrick, Fall River
St. Thomas More, Somerset Immaculate
Conception, Taunton
Marian Manor, Taunton
Faculties Restricted
Murphy, James E.19351962Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Patrick, Fall River
St. Mary, Taunton
Sacred Heart, Taunton
St. Jacques, Taunton
Laicized (2006);Deceased (2020)
Neylon, Bruce M.19481975Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary, Mansfield
Holy Name, Fall River
St. Patrick, Wareham
Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Attleboro
St. John, Attleboro
St. Mary, Seekonk
St. Stanislaus, Fall River
Holy Trinity, Fall River
Faculties Removed
Nichols, Herbert T.19481975Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary, New Bedford
St. Joseph, Fall River
St. Ann, Raynham
St. Joseph, Taunton
Boy Scouts of America, Attleboro-Taunton Area
St. Mary, Taunton
St. Anne, Fall River
St. Joan of Arc, Orleans
Charlton Memorial Hospital, Fall River
St. James, New Bedford
Our Lady of Lourdes, Wellfleet
St. Anthony of Padua, New Bedford
St. Bernadette, Fall River
Faculties Removed
Norton, William W.19411967Diocese of Fall RiverSacred Heart, Taunton
St. Kilian, New Bedford
Cathedral Camp, East Freetown
Bishop Stang High School, Dartmouth
St. Mary’s Home, New Bedford
Holy Name, New Bedford
St. Mary, New Bedford
St. Patrick, Wareham St. Patrick, Fall River
St. Joseph, Woods Hole
Our Lady of Lourdes, Wellfleet
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville
St. Anne, Fall River
St. Anne’s Hospital, Fall River
Deceased (2004)
Paquette, Edward O.19281957Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary, Taunton
St. Mary, Mansfield
St. Kilian, New Bedford
Faculties Removed;Laicized (2009)
Pegnam, John W.19311960Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Francis Xavier, Hyannis
Immaculate Conception, Taunton
St. Mary, Norton
Deceased (1996)
Porter, James R.19351960Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary, North Attleboro
Sacred Heart, Fall River
St. James, New Bedford
Faculties Removed;Laicized (1974);Deceased (2005)
Quinn, Justin J.19261953Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River
St. Kilian, New Bedford
St. Thomas More, Somerset
St. Lawrence, New Bedford
St. Elizabeth, Edgartown
St. Rita, Marion Immaculate Conception, Fall River
St. Anne, Fall River
St. Mary’s Home, New Bedford
Madonna Manor, Attleboro
Sacred Heart, North Attleboro
Deceased (1996)
Rausch, Edward19271954Diocese of Fall RiverSt. John, AttleboroLaicized (1971);Deceased (2014)
Robillard, Raymond A.19401966Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Hyacinth, New Bedford
St. Joseph, Attleboro
Notre Dame, Fall River
Sacred Heart, New Bedford
St. Louis, Fall River
St. Jacques, Taunton
St. Theresa, South Attleboro
St. Stephen, Attleboro
St. Pius X, South Yarmouth
Holy Ghost, Attleboro
Rose Hawthorne Lathrop Home, Fall River
Faculties Removed
Shovelton, William J.19221946Diocese of Fall RiverOur Lady of the Isle, Nantucket
St. Louis, Fall River
St. Joseph, Fall River
Sacred Heart, Fall River
St. Thomas More, Somerset
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Seekonk
St. William, Fall River
Deceased (2015)
Simoes, Gilbert J.19331961Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Michael, Fall River
Our Lady of Mt Carmel, New Bedford Santo Christo, Fall River
St. John the Baptist, Westport
Suspension from Ministry;Deceased (2009)
Tripp, Kevin F.19421968Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Patrick, Fall River
Holy Name, Fall River
St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro
St. Luke’s Hospital
St James, New Bedford
Laicized (2020)

1 The name George Avellar appeared on a list of clergy accused of sexual misconduct published by the Bristol County District Attorney in 2002. The Diocese has no record of an individual named George Avellar and believes that the name may be a mistranscription of Jose Avila.
2 While Father Kuhn is a priest incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River, he is a member of the Virginia-based Youth Apostles Institute. As such, after 2004 he ministered outside the Diocese of Fall River, largely in the Virginia area.

B. Other Diocese

NameYear of BirthYear of OrdinationDiocese of IncardinationAssignment History in the
Diocese of Fall River
Status
Carrier, George R.11945n/an/aCathedral Camp, East Freetown
St. Vincent de Paul Camp, Westport
St. Pius X, South Yarmouth
Deceased (2004)
Corbin, Anthony Andre19291961Diocese of Charlotte, North CarolinaOur Lady of the Assumption, Osterville
Our Lady Queen of All Saints Church Chapel, Mashpee
Deceased (2008)

1 Seminarian.

C. Religious Order

NameYear of BirthYear of OrdinationDiocese of IncardinationAssignment History in the
Diocese of Fall River
Status
Gaudin, Rene19271957Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.)St. Francis, Acushnet
Our Lady of Lourdes, Wellfleet
Deceased (2001)
Genevive, Frank19561983Order of Friars Minor (O.F.M.)St. Margaret, Buzzards Bay
Guarin, Angelo Michael
Guarin, Angelo Michael19701998Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (F.F.I.)Our Lady’s Chapel, New BedfordFaculties Revoked
McManus, Francis J.19411973Society of Jesus (S.J.)Bishop Connolly High School, Fall River
St. James, New Bedford
St. Luke’s Hospital, New Bedford
Deceased (2015)
Mulryan, Thomas J.119321955 (perpetual profession of vows)Congregation of the Holy Cross (C.S.C.)Msgr. James Coyle High School, TauntonDispensed from religious vows
Deceased (2009)
Nickel, James R.unknown1970Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.)Holy Trinity, West Harwich
Our Lady of the Annunciation, Dennisport
St. Mary, Fairhaven
Deceased (2008)
Powers, John A.19251952Dominican Friars (O.P.)St. Patrick, FalmouthRemoved from ministry
Deceased (2010)

1 Religious brother.

Cases in Progress

This category includes living priests of the Diocese of Fall River who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing a minor, but the canonical and/or civil proceedings involving these priests have not yet been resolved. There has not yet been a determination either under canon (Church) or civil law regarding whether the allegations against clergy listed here are credible. Consistent with the principles of the American justice system and Church law, these individuals are afforded a presumption of innocence. The priests in this section are prohibited from engaging in public ministry while their cases are in process.

Publicly Accused

This category includes priests, seminarians, or other religious who were either incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River or who were assigned to public ministry in the Diocese of Fall River, and have been publicly named in media reports, third party lists prepared by advocacy groups and/or other dioceses and religious orders, as having allegations against them involving sexual abuse of a minor. The individuals included are clergy or other religious against whom a publicized accusation was made, but for whom the Diocese lacks sufficient information at this time to make its own determination whether the accusation was credible. In some cases, a religious order or other diocese may have determined that the priest was credibly accused after investigation or upon admission of the priest.

It is important to note that just because a name appears on the publicly accused list, that does not necessarily mean that the individual was accused of abusing a child in the Diocese of Fall River. For example, a priest may have been publicly accused of abuse in another diocese or may appear on a credibly accused list for a religious order for allegations unrelated to the Diocese of Fall River. If we were able to confirm that the priest also worked in the Diocese of Fall River at some point in his career, we have included the priest on the publicly accused list even if the Diocese did not itself receive an allegation regarding that priest.

Note also that, for priests who were incardinated in another diocese or were members of a religious order, the Diocese often lacked complete information about the priest, including assignment history. However, the Diocese has included assignments within the Diocese of Fall River and other information about the priest, based on the records and information from official sources available to the Diocese.

A Monsignor Albert Berube was publicly accused in 2002, after his death, but the allegations were not substantiated after an investigation. For this reason, he is not included on the publicly accused list; he is mentioned here only to explain this outcome, because the determination that the allegations were unsubstantiated was not previously made public.

** Because certain individuals were not incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River, the Diocese lacked complete information for many of these individuals, including assignment history. That information has been included where it was available from official sources.

NameYear of BirthYear of OrdinationDiocese of IncardinationAssignment History in the Diocese of Fall RiverStatus
Acres, John H.1See note ** below.See
note ** below.
n/aBishop Connolly High School, Fall RiverLeft order
Brinker, Brian19571988Diocese of Rockville Centre, New YorkDiocese of Rockville Centre, New YorkSuspended
Byrne, Joseph19431969Archdiocese of BostonSt. Patrick, Falmouth
St. Anthony, Falmouth
Removed from ministry
Deceased (2014)
Cavanagh, Charles19491980UnknownCorpus Christi, East SandwichCurrent location unknown
Cullen, William2See note ** below.1965n/aBishop Connolly High School, Fall River
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville
St. John Neumann, East Freetown
Removed from ministry
Deceased (2010)
Dawber, Stephen F.3See note ** below.1969n/aBishop Connolly High School, Fall River
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville
St. John Neumann, East Freetown
Impeded
Deceased (2010)
Delgado, Alexander41967n/an/aCathedral Camp, East FreetownNot incardinated
Current whereabouts unknown
Donachie, Adrian5See note ** below.See
note ** below.
n/aOur Lady’s Chapel, New BedfordDeceased (1979)
Fredette, Alfred19261952n/aNational Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, AttleboroDeceased (2000)
Hession, Mark R.619581984Diocese of Fall RiverSt. Patrick, Wareham
St. Joan of Arc, Orleans
Holy Name, Fall River
St. Mary, New Bedford
Charlton Memorial Hospital, Fall River
St. Joseph, Taunton
Holy Rosary, Fall River
St. Patrick, Falmouth
Our Lady of Victory, Centerville
Our Lady of the Assumption, Osterville
Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Seekonk
Faculties Suspended
Kossak, Michael J.7See note ** below.See
note ** below.
n/aBishop Connolly High School, Fall RiverDismissed
Lima, Jose Alfonso19621992Diocese of São João del-Rei, BrazilSt. Francis Xavier, Hyannis
St. Anthony, Falmouth
Good Shepherd Parish, Martha’s Vineyard
St. Pius X, South Yarmouth
St. Mary’s Cathedral, Fall River
Faculties within the Diocese of Fall River removed
Motherway, Thomas F.19421969Archdiocese of BostonOur Lady of Victory, CentervilleDeceased (2003)
O’Dea, Thomas19341960Diocese of Fall RiverSt. James, New Bedford
St. Lawrence, New Bedford
St. Francis of Assisi, New Bedford
Sacred Heart, New Bedford
Deceased (1999)
Orteneau, Eugene F.8See note ** below.See
note ** below.
n/aBishop Connolly High School, Fall RiverLeft order
Deceased (2009)
Rancourt, Henry J.19301957n/aImmaculate Conception, North Easton
Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford
Good Shepherd, Vineyard Haven
See
note **
below.
Roos, Richard H.9See note ** below.See
note ** below.
n/aBishop Connolly High School, Fall RiverImpeded
Spagnolo, NicholasSee note ** below.1953n/aLimited faculties to assist in charitable work on Cape CodDeceased (2013)
Walsh, James P.10See note ** below.See
note ** below.
n/aRound Hill retreat house, DartmouthImpeded
Deceased (2009)
Wolf, Richard J.11See note ** below.See
note ** below.
n/aBishop Connolly High School, Fall RiverDeceased (1986)

1 Fr. Acres is listed by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits as having admitted to a credible allegation of abuse of a minor occurring in 1987, during which time he was assigned to Boston College High School in Boston, MA. (https://www.jesuitseast.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2020/07/ Jesuits_Northeast_List.pdf)
2 Fr. Cullen is listed by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits as having a credible allegation of abuse of a minor occurring between 1995-1996, during which time he was assigned to Nativity Prep in Boston, MA. (https://www.jesuitseast.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2020/07/ Jesuits_Northeast_List.pdf)
3 Fr. Dawber is listed by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits as having a credible allegation of abuse of a minor occurring between 1970-1976 during which time he was assigned to Boston College High School in Boston, MA. (https://www.jesuitseast.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2020/07/ Jesuits_Northeast_List.pdf)
4 Seminarian.
5 Fr. Donachie is listed by the Franciscan Friars Holy Name Province as having a substantiated allegation against him. (https://hnp.org/protecting-gods-children/list-of-friars-with-substantiated-allegations/)
6 On December 11, 2020, Fr. Hession was indicted by a Barnstable County grand jury. While criminal proceedings continue, his faculties remain suspended and review by the Diocese is on hold.
7 Fr. Kossak is listed by the Jesuit West Province for the Society of Jesus as having a credible allegation of abuse of a minor occurring in 1980. (https://www.jesuitswest.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2020/07/ JW_List_0720_EnglishR11.pdf)
8 Fr. Orteneau is listed by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits as having a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor occurring between 1992-1995, during which time he was assigned to the parish of St. Thomas Aquinas in Storrs, CT. (https://www.jesuitseast.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2020/07/ Jesuits_Northeast_List.pdf)
9 Fr. Roos is listed by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits as having admitted to abuse of a minor occurring in the 1980s. (https://www.jesuitseast.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2020/07/ Jesuits_Northeast_List.pdf)
10 Fr. Walsh is listed by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits as having a credible allegation of abuse of a minor occurring between 1984-1985, during which time he was assigned to Boston College High School in Boston, MA. (https://www.jesuitseast.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2020/07/ Jesuits_Northeast_List.pdf)
11 Fr. Wolf is listed by the USA Northeast Province of Jesuits as having a credible allegation of abuse of a minor occurring between 1979-1981, during which time he was assigned to Bishop Connolly High School in Fall River, MA. (https://www.jesuitseast.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/12/2020/07/ Jesuits_Northeast_List.pdf)

Glossary

Canon law:  A set of ordinances and regulations made by ecclesiastical authority, for the government of a Christian organization or church and its members. Canon law covers such things as the process of religious service, criteria for baptism, funerals, prohibited conduct, church property, and internal boards which have jurisdiction over Church matters.

Core Advisory Group: A group made up of the Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia, Chancellor, Director of Professional Standards and Oversight, and General Counsel, which advises the Bishop about claims against clergy and seminarians.

Credibly accused: The allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has a “semblance of truth” under canon law, using a standard of proof approximating probable cause, as described in the  Ministerial Review Board Policy, Section 6.5.

Faculties: Permission granted to clergy that enables them to practice public ministry within a certain diocese.

Incardination: Term used by the Catholic Church to describe the relationship between a cleric and the diocese or religious order to which he is attached and the superior (e.g., bishop, prelate, religious superior) to which he is accountable and who, in turn, is responsible for him. Clerics must be attached to a particular Church or religious institute.

Laicized: A cleric is dismissed from the clerical state by the Pope, either at the petition of the cleric or at the petition of the diocese, and no longer has the rights and responsibilities of ordination, and is now considered part of the laity.

Ministerial Review Board (MRB): As described in the Ministerial Review Board Policy, a local board that functions as a confidential consultative body to the Bishop. The MRB advises the Bishop regarding alleged misconduct by clergy, including misconduct relating to the sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, and the Bishop’s determination of the suitability for ministry of a member of the clergy. See Ministerial Review Board Policy.

Minor/Child: Anyone under the age of 18 or a person who is at least 18 years old and a student who is in high school and has not reached their 19th birthday. For more information, see Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful, Section 2.11.

Ordination: Process of elevating a lay person to clerical status.

Publicly accused: Priests, seminarians, or other religious who were either incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River or who were assigned to public ministry in the Diocese of Fall River, and have been publicly named in media reports, third party lists prepared by advocacy groups and/or other dioceses and religious orders, as having allegations against them involving sexual abuse of a minor. The individuals included are clergy or other religious against whom a publicized accusation was made, but for whom the Diocese lacks sufficient information at this time to make its own determination whether the accusation was credible. In some cases, a religious order or other diocese may have determined that the priest was credibly accused after investigation or upon admission of the priest.  For more information, see FAQs below.

Restricted, Suspended, or Removed from Ministry: Not permitted to practice public ministry

Sexual Abuse of a Child: Sexual molestation or sexual exploitation of a child and other behavior by which an adult uses a child as an object of sexual gratification, this includes any act or interaction whether it involves genital or physical contact, with or without consent, even if initiated by the child, which involves sexual contact, molestation or sexual exploitation of a child by an adult, whether physical injuries are sustained or not. For more information, see the Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful, Section 2.4.

Unsubstantiated: The allegation of sexual abuse of a minor does not have a “semblance of truth.” This may mean the allegation was withdrawn or recanted; after an investigation, it was determined the allegation lacked merit; and/or the information was insufficient to assess credibility.

FAQs:

Assembling the List

How did the Diocese review its files in creating the accused list?

The Diocese embarked on a comprehensive review of its records beginning in 2019. This review process involved internal examination by Diocesan officials, and experts engaged by the Diocese, including former law enforcement and outside legal counsel. Recommendations were made to the Bishop, who made the final determination regarding the list. For additional information about the process, see here.

Did outside experts review the Diocese’s files?

Yes. The Gavin Group, Kinsale Management Consulting, Ropes & Gray, LLP, and Ed Davis, former Boston Police Commissioner, and his team at The Edward Davis Company, were involved in the file review process. For additional information, see here.

How did the Diocese determine that an allegation of sexual abuse against a minor was “credible”?

The Diocese applied the definition used in its Ministerial Review Board Policy, section 6.5. Credibility means that the allegation of sexual abuse of a minor has a “semblance of truth” under canon (Church) law, using a standard of proof that approximates probable cause.

What is the difference between the credibly accused and publicly accused lists?

Both the credibly accused and publicly accused lists include priests, seminarians, and other religious who were either incardinated in the Diocese of Fall River or publicly ministered within the Diocese of Fall River. Those on the credibly accused list had allegations made against them which the Diocese was able to determine were credible after its own investigation, because they met the semblance of truth standard previously defined.

All individuals listed in the publicly accused category have been publicly named in media reports, third party lists prepared by advocacy groups and/or other dioceses and religious orders, as having allegations against them involving sexual abuse of a minor. For those in this category, a publicized accusation was made, but – unlike those in the credibly accused category – the Diocese lacks sufficient information at this time to make its own determination whether the accusation was credible. Note that in some cases, a religious order or other diocese may have determined that the priest was credibly accused after investigation or upon admission of the priest. See also the question and answer immediately below.

If a priest’s name is on the publicly accused list, does that mean that he is accused of abusing a child in the Diocese of Fall River?

Not necessarily. For example, a priest may have been publicly accused of abuse in another diocese or may appear on a credibly accused list for a religious order for allegations unrelated to the Diocese of Fall River. If we were able to confirm that the priest also worked in the Diocese of Fall River at some point in his career, we have included the priest on the publicly accused list even if the Diocese did not itself receive an allegation regarding that priest.

What’s the difference between restricted, suspended, and removed, in the status field?

Over the years, the Diocese has used various terminology when preventing a priest from practicing public ministry. For purposes of the priest’s status, there is no discernible difference between “restricted,” “suspended,” or “removed” from public ministry.  In all cases, this means that the priest may not practice public ministry.

Why are some priests laicized whereas others are restricted, suspended, and/or removed?

There are many factors the Diocese considers when disciplining a priest for misconduct. The Bishop has the authority to restrict a priest from public ministry. The laicization process can take many years and ultimately goes through the Vatican. The appropriate measure for each individual priest is a fact-intensive inquiry and varies depending on the specific circumstances. In every case, the Diocese is guided by its commitment to protecting children and vulnerable adults from abuse, and to disciplining any Diocesan personnel who commit abuse.

Why is some assignment history or other information not provided for priests who were incardinated in a diocese other than Fall River or are members of a religious order?

For priests who were incardinated in another diocese or were members of a religious order, the Diocese often lacked complete information about the priest, including assignment history. However, the Diocese has included assignments within the Diocese of Fall River and other information about the priest, based on the records and information from official sources available to the Diocese.

Handling Abuse Allegations Today

What is the Diocese’s process for handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors?

When an allegation is received, the Core Advisory Group will conduct a preliminary investigation. Unless such allegation is manifestly false, the Diocese will conduct further investigation and take appropriate steps, such as placing the cleric on administrative leave; preventing the cleric from having any contact with minors, the alleged victim, and the victim’s family; prohibiting the cleric from ministering publicly; and other actions as the Bishop sees fit.  The Diocese also reports allegations it receives regarding sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement, and is committed to cooperating with any investigations by law enforcement and civil authorities, in accordance with Massachusetts law. For additional information, see the Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful.

How do I report an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a person affiliated with the Diocese, including clergy, staff, and volunteers?

Anyone may report an incident of abuse to any Diocesan clergy, staff, or volunteer or by contacting the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Carolyn Shipp. Note that the Diocese follows mandatory reporting requirements and cooperates with law enforcement and civil authorities, in accordance with Massachusetts law. Further information is also available at the Office of Safe Environment.

Keeping Our Community Safe

When were the Diocesan policies about child protection and safety last updated?

In July 2020. Please see the Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful.

Does this policy apply to volunteers and staff, as well as clergy?

Yes. Please see Section 2.7 of the Diocesan Policy Protecting the Faithful.

What is the Ministerial Review Board?

Please see the glossary definition of Ministerial Review Board (MRB), provided here, as well as the Ministerial Review Board Policy for more information.

In addition to policies, how does the Diocese prevent sexual abuse of minors?

As part of its safe environment program, the Diocese requires all personnel to submit to a background check, agree to a code of conduct, and complete Safe Environment Training. The training, which is required of clergy, lay employees, and volunteers, provides awareness and knowledge to ensure a safe environment within the Diocese. The Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful has detailed instructions for Diocesan personnel that receive allegations of abuse. In addition, many Diocesan personnel are mandatory reporters. The Diocese has a dedicated Victim Assistance Coordinator, who must be a licensed social worker or a licensed mental health professional. The Victim Assistance Coordinator is the first point of contact when an allegation is received and works closely with the Bishop to ensure that the Diocese is adequately addressing the rights and needs of any victims. Carolyn Shipp, the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, can be reached at (508) 985-6508 or at cshipp@dioc-fr.org. The Diocese is also committed to cooperating with law enforcement and civil investigations into abuse, including reporting allegations received to law enforcement.

Procedures After an Allegation

What happens to a priest who is accused of sexually abusing a minor?

The Diocese reports allegations it receives regarding sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement and is committed to cooperating with any investigations by law enforcement and civil authorities in accordance with Massachusetts law. From a Diocesan perspective, the Core Advisory Group first conducts a preliminary investigation into the allegation. If the Core Advisory Group determines that the allegation is not manifestly false, they will advise the Bishop. A more fulsome investigation may then be conducted. While an investigation is pending, the priest will not be allowed to practice public ministry; is prevented from having any contact with minors, the alleged victim and the victim’s family; and is subject to other restrictions as the Bishop sees fit. The results of the investigation will be presented to the Ministerial Review Board for further deliberation on the appropriate course of action. The MRB reviews the allegations, considers evidence, evaluates the validity of allegations, and offers advice and recommendations to the Bishop. The Bishop will then determine the status of the priest.

What happens to a seminarian who is accused of sexually abusing a minor?

The Diocese reports allegations it receives regarding sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement, and is committed to cooperating with any investigations by law enforcement and civil authorities, in accordance with Massachusetts law. From a Diocesan perspective, the Core Advisory Group first conducts a preliminary investigation into the allegation. If the Core Advisory Group determines that the allegation is not manifestly false, they will advise the Bishop. A more fulsome investigation may then be conducted. While an investigation is pending, the Diocesan’s sponsorship of the seminarian as a candidate for the priesthood is suspended. The Bishop will then determine the status of the seminarian.

What happens to a layperson (including employees and volunteers) who is accused of sexually abusing a minor?

When an allegation is made against a lay employee or volunteer, the Director of Professional Standards and Oversight (the “Director”) will be notified. Law enforcement and civil authorities are also notified. When appropriate, the Director will notify the Director of Human Resources, Pastor or other appropriate supervisor of the employee/volunteer (the “Manager”) who will take appropriate steps. Unless the allegation is manifestly false, the layperson will be placed on administrative leave or terminated, according to the judgment of the Manager. The Manager must take other appropriate steps, in accordance with relevant policies and Massachusetts law. See 5.12 and 5.13 in the Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful.

What happens if sexual abuse by a cleric is admitted or established?

In all circumstances, if sexual abuse is admitted or established, the cleric will be permanently dismissed, and applicable diocesan policy and canonical steps would be taken. See, for example, the Diocesan Policy for Protecting the Faithful.

Child Abuse Prevention Month

Every April, child and youth serving organizations, including Catholic Dioceses, parishes, and schools, join the national movement to recognize and highlight Child Abuse Prevention. The Diocese of Fall River takes this opportunity to call attention to the importance of protecting children from abuse and to raise awareness that child abuse is preventable. It is our mission, our sacred mission, to remain vigilant in our efforts to protect children in our care in our parishes, schools, programs, and ministries.

DID YOU KNOW…

April is Child Abuse Prevention Month. Child abuse can occur in every culture, religion, and socio-economic demographic. The vast majority of child abuse occurs at the hands of someone known to the child victim. Those who seek to do harm to children will pursue opportunities that provide access to children and may appear to be helpful and friendly. Our Diocesan policy of the Essential Three requires that all who minister work, or volunteer in the Diocese complete background screening, training and agree to a code of conduct. This is one of the ways we endeavor to educate our parish and school communities and create a culture of child protection.

DID YOU KNOW…

Research estimates that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they reach 18. One of the ways our parish creates a safe environment is by teaching the Circle of Grace curriculum to all enrolled in Faith Formation and Youth Ministry programs and to the students in our Catholic Schools. In an age-appropriate manner, Circle of Grace teaches children and youth personal safety skills including recognizing physical, emotional and spiritual boundaries, identifying trusted adults and taking action if boundary violations occur.

DID YOU KNOW…

All members of the clergy, Directors of Religious Education and teachers in our schools are Mandated Reporters in Massachusetts and required by law to report any suspected child abuse. Many children will not tell anyone they are being abused. Because the Diocese believes in our moral obligation to protect children, we extend the safe environment training to all who minister, work or volunteer. Watch for signs of abuse and, if you are concerned about a child, share those concerns with a mandated reporter at your parish or school. Let us all be a voice for children who may not be able to speak for themselves.

DID YOU KNOW…

The Diocese of Fall River stands firm in its commitment to report abuse to law enforcement and cooperate with investigations. If you have been abused by someone representing the Church (priest, deacon, religious, employee or volunteer), we are sorry. We are here to listen and support you. You can report an incident of abuse by contacting local law enforcement directly and by contacting Diocesan Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance, Carolyn Shipp at 508-985-6508 (confidential voice mail) or cshipp@dioc-fr.org.  She can assist you in making a report and support you through the process.

DID YOU KNOW…

This June marks the 20th anniversary of the Charter for the Protection of Children and People, commonly referred to as the Dallas Charter. The U.S. Bishops created this Charter in response to the clergy sexual abuse crisis and revised it in 2005, 2011 and 2018. The Charter created a set of procedures for handling allegations of sexual abuse of a minor, whether historical or current. It calls for all allegations to be reported to local law enforcement, zero tolerance for clergy with credible allegations returning to ministry, establishment of outreach and healing services for survivors. Some of the ways the Diocese of Fall River implements the Charter include:

  • Mandates the Essential Three requirements (criminal background check, safe environment training, and code of conduct) for all who minister, work or volunteer in the Diocese.
  • Employs a Victim Assistance Coordinator, who is a licensed social worker, to respond to reports of abuse and accompany survivors through their journey.
  • Has an independent Ministerial Review Board, comprised of experts with backgrounds including law enforcement, social work, trauma psychology, law, and nursing. As an advisory body to the Bishop, this Board reviews the complete written record for allegations of sexual abuse of a minor by clergy, assesses the credibility of the allegations and provides consultation to the Bishop regarding the cleric’s fitness for ministry.
  • Participates in a yearly audit to evaluate the Diocese’s implementation of the requirement of the Charter.

Journeying Together

A Pastoral Letter from Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D., to the Clergy, Religious and Faithful of the Diocese of Fall River

Now, more than ever, God is calling us to move forward and not stand still. My hope in this pastoral letter is to offer you a vision for how we can do this and how you can join us in moving forward into the future as a diocese.”

Bishop Edgar . da Cunha

JOURNEYING TOGETHER: THE WAY FORWARD

Invitational Witness

 Just like Jesus, we need to be aware of those around us, to extend invitation, and be a welcoming community. Now is the time for courageous, creative outreach. 

MISSION STEPS

  • Take a deeper look at your personal gifts and talents to engage in our faith communities.
  • Continue to learn about the faith by participating in ongoing catechesis and spiritual formation.
  • Partake in person-to-person engagement, inviting those in your life to encounter Christ and the Church community
  • Focus parish efforts on greater hospitality, invitational awareness, and create opportunities to invite others to come to church. Imperative to this is the role of the laity in inviting others to Mass, as well as offering newcomers opportunities to connect with the parish community.
  • Evaluate parish faith formation and sacramental preparation for all ages. To this end, parishes are asked to give special attention to the family, exploring ways to engage in intentional parent and family formation. As a resource, I recommend the new Directory for Catechesis (cf n. 232) The Secretariat for the New Evangelization is also a helpful resource for this evaluation.
  • Improve outreach: parishes are asked to ensure they have functioning communications to the parishioners, social media, and a web presence, leveraging these items for evangelization and to help unify members of the parish.
  • Consider making use of the votive Masses for the evangelization of peoples or for the Church during this year so that we may better approach the work of evangelization through a spirit of prayer and reliance on Divine providence.

Sacramental Living

“Follow me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19) Jesus calls each of us the same way, there is no more extraordinary way to encounter Jesus than in the Eucharist.

MISSION STEPS

  • Regularly attend Mass
  • Share with the others, especially those away from Mass, the importance the Eucharist holds in your life.
  • Set a time for regular Eucharistic Adoration daily or weekly to increase Eucharistic devotion. Each parish should offer expressed devotion to the Eucharist, especially with its great tie to fostering and birthing priestly and religious vocations.
  • Intentionally reach out to the faithful to help them recognize the importance of attending Mass. It is not about full pews or collection baskets, but of experiencing the mystical Body of Christ—the Eucharist.
  • Help young people in our parishes and Catholic schools encounter the Real Presence by ensuring that they have ready access to the Eucharist and through evangelizing with the examples of saints, such as Bl Carlo Acutis, and through Eucharistic miracles.
  • Help individuals refocus on the Real Presence by initiating specific study, preaching and devotional practices, with special attention to inviting those who have been away from the Eucharist. Each parish should look for opportunities that will work best in their community.
  • Plan for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Eucharistic Revival Project, which our Diocese will be participating in. The diocesan phase will begin June 2022, with the parish phase set to begin June 2023.

Vocational Pathways

 Let us all embrace our baptismal mission by mirroring the holiness of Christ in how we live our lives. All of God’s people need to work together, ordained clergy and the lay faithful, embracing their universal and specific vocations.

MISSION STEPS

  • Regularly pray for the gift of discernment and that individuals may hear and respond to God’s call.
  • Champion a renewed sense of lay service by re-engaging Catholics in parish ministries. Grow parish ministry opportunities that allow for various individuals to participate in their faith more actively, through service to their parish and community at large.
  • Foster a culture of vocations, with parishes and Catholic schools planning ways to pray, discuss, and help individuals discern the topic of vocations at all ages. To this end, parishes should consider the development of a vocations ministry.
  • Nominate “parish ambassadors” in each parish to aid in ongoing evangelization and revitalization efforts at the parish level. These can be parishioners already working on revitalization efforts or individuals interested in getting more involved. Parish ambassadors will be supported by our Diocesan pastoral teams.
  • Improve support for our clergy. As a Diocese, we recently hired a Director of Clergy Support to provide more assistance for the health and wellness of our priests. To this same end, as a Diocese, we are introducing Chancery Workshops for the recently ordained.
  • Support parish revitalization efforts. As a Diocese, we formed the Secretariat for the New Evangelization to offer expertise, services and evangelizing opportunities to aid parishes.
  • Create diocesan resources and trainings for parishes to support and equip parish staff, leadership, and parish ambassadors to accomplish these pursuits.
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