Bishop Peterson Home to 3 Removed from Ministry

Union Leader (Manchester NH)
October 7, 2006

MANCHESTER — Three priests permanently removed from ministry for child sexual abuse live at the Bishop Peterson Residence, a health care facility for infirm diocesan priests.

The diocese has not notified neighbors of the 221 Orange St. home that the priests live there.

A diocesan spokesman yesterday would not confirm the Revs. Raymond H. Laferriere, Leo A. Shea and John Poirier live at the 15-unit residence. However, voter registration records list the three as residents. In addition, Shea, who is one of a handful of priests to be criminally convicted of sexually abusing minors, is listed on the state's sexual offender registry as living there.

"It is not our practice to notify the neighbors of where a priest (removed from ministry) lives," said the Rev. Edward J. Arsenault, the bishop's delegate for ministerial conduct.

Arsenault said only diocesan priests who are elderly and infirm may live at the residence. The house has a nurse manager and 24-hour nursing staff, and all residents and visitors are required to sign a log when they come and go, he said.

"Many can't (leave) because they are in wheelchairs, are infirm. Some are bed-ridden," he said.

Laferriere was accused of sexually assaulting two boys between the late 1950s and 1970, according to state files.

Shea was convicted in 1995 of aggravated felonious sexual assault of a boy under 13 and was sentenced to a three- to six-year state prison term.

Poirier also was removed from ministry for alleged child sexual abuse, according to the state's investigative files.

Bishop Peterson Residence is in a mixed neighborhood of residential homes and institutions. It is next door to the Mount Carmel Health Care Center, which also is operated by the diocese.

The Rev. Roland P. Cote is the resident care director. Cote left parish ministry in 2002 following revelations he paid a teenage male for sex in the 1980s. No charges were brought after investigators determined the youth was at least 16, the legal age of consent.

Diocesan spokesman Pat McGee said Cote provides "pastoral care" to Bishop Peterson residents, but has no supervisory authority.


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