Investigation Initiated by Diocese Results in Arrest of Deacon

Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence
August 16, 2011

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(PROVIDENCE, R.I.)-In mid June, following an allegation of inappropriate behavior regarding a Deacon at St. Joseph Parish in West Warwick, the diocese immediately launched an internal investigation. The West Warwick Police Department and the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families were also consulted. Both entities agreed that the original allegation was not criminal in nature and therefore decided not to pursue the matter.

While the preliminary investigation did not yield any acts of criminal activity, the conduct of this individual was unacceptable for a representative of the Church. On June 18, Deacon Laurence Gagnon submitted his letter of resignation to the parish, which was also accepted by the Diocese. After receiving this information, Bishop Tobin initiated Canonical action against the Deacon in conformity with Church law. As of that date, he no longer served as a Deacon in the parish or teacher at St. Joseph School.

After the original investigation launched by the Diocese, additional information was made available to the West Warwick Police Department who today informed the Diocese that Deacon Gagnon was arrested on three counts of child molestation. The Diocese continues to fully cooperate with the investigation.


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