For immediate release: Monday, August 24, 2009
Accused predator priest ousted; Victims blast bishop
Statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (314 862 7688 home, 314 503 0003 cell)
For almost six months, Bishop Tobin and his staff recklessly and callously chose silence over warning, and opted to alert no one about a credible allegation of child sexual abuse against a Catholic priest. That is inexcusable. Six months is a long time to intimidate other victims, threaten witnesses, destroy evidence, and fabricate alibis.
Regardless of what law enforcement does or doesn't do with this case, Tobin had a moral and civic duty to promptly warn the public and his parishioners about this serious allegation.
That he chose self-serving secrecy over simple prudence is very disturbing.
We hope that every single person who saw, suspected or suffered this cleric's crimes will find the courage to call police, get help, start recovering and protect others.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the nation’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 21 years and have more than 9,000 members across the country. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, 314-645-5915 home), Peter Isely (414-429-7259) Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688)
Pawtucket priest accused of sex abuse
Diocese says priest has resigned amid allegations
Updated: Monday, 24 Aug 2009, 11:32 AM EDT
PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) - A priest from a Roman Catholic Church in Pawtucket resigned as pastor amid allegations of sexually abusing a minor more than 20 years ago, the Providence Diocese confirmed Monday.
Under the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Father Kevin R. Fisette, of St. Leo the Great on Central Ave., has also been placed on administrative leave as a result of the "credible allegation," church officials said.
“I am saddened by this unfortunate news, however, the Diocese of Providence takes seriously this allegation,” said The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence. “I offer my prayers and support for the individual who came forward with this allegation and his family during this time, Father Kevin Fisette and his family as well as the faithful of St. Leo the Great.”
The Diocesan officials said they notified authorities in March when the allegations first surfaced. State police informed them last week no criminal charges would be pursued at this time. However, the investigation is ongoing.
Parishioners of St. Leo's were notified about the allegations during Sunday Mass.
Bishop Tobin will soon appoint an administrator for the church. He also plans on celebrating Mass with the parish in the near future, in an effort to provide members with spiritual support.
The Diocese of Providence urges anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse or with credible knowledge of such abuse by any member of the Church to report the information to local law enforcement or the Diocesan Office of Education and Compliance at 401-941-0760.
Copyright WPRI 12
Pawtucket Priest Resigns After 20 Year Old Sexual Abuse Allegation
Story Updated: Aug 24, 2009 at 11:38 AM EDT
(PROVIDENCE, RI) - In accordance with The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and diocesan policy, the Diocese of Providence today announced that Father Kevin R. Fisette has resigned as pastor of St. Leo the Great in Pawtucket and has been placed on administrative leave as a result of a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor more than 20 years ago. This is the only allegation the diocese has received relative to this individual priest. According to Father Kevin Fisette, no criminal charges will be filed at this time.
The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of Providence, will soon appoint an administrator for St. Leo Parish. The Bishop plans to celebrate Mass at St. Leo's in the near future to provide parishioners spiritual and pastoral support.
"I am saddened by this unfortunate news, however, the Diocese of Providence takes seriously this allegation," said Bishop Tobin. "I offer my prayers and support for the individual who came forward with this allegation and his family during this time, Father Kevin Fisette and his family as well as the faithful of St. Leo the Great."
Father Kevin Fisette's faculties, or permission to serve as a priest, have been suspended in accordance with the charter. The full content of the charter may be accessed through a link found on every page of the Diocese of Providence's website at www.dioceseofprovidence.org.
Father Kevin Fisette was ordained to the priesthood on November 21, 1981 and has served in the following assignments: Rhode Island Hospital chaplain 1981-1982; St. Mary, Cranston, 1982-1985; St. Catherine, Warwick, 1985-1990; St. James, West Warwick and Bishop Hendricken High School 1990-1993; Pawtuxet Valley CYO spiritual director 1990-1993; Saints Peter and Paul, West Warwick, 1993; and Holy Name of Jesus, Providence 1997-2004. He was appointed pastor of St. Leo the Great in 2004.
Upon receiving an allegation of sexual abuse in March, the diocese promptly reported the information to law enforcement authorities who investigated the matter. Diocesan officials were last week informed through the State Police that criminal charges would not be pursued at this time. The diocese is fully cooperating with the ongoing investigation and remains committed to addressing all credible allegations of abuse. Parishioners of St. Leo's were notified of the allegation that prompted the resignation yesterday at Mass.
The Diocese of Providence urges anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse or with credible knowledge of such abuse by any member of the Church to report the information to local law enforcement or the Diocesan Office of Education and Compliance at 401/941-0760.
-from the Providence Catholic Diocese
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests