Rhode Island Church Knowingly Employed Child Abuser for 20 Years

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

Sept. 23, 2019

A church in Rhode Island has knowingly employed a child abuser for twenty years, potentially giving this dangerous man access to vulnerable children. This open and flagrant violation of the Dallas Charter should demand an immediate response from church officials in Rhode Island and the Vatican.

Despite having been informed of the sexual assault allegations against David E. Barboza, church leaders at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in Bristol, R.I., allowed Barboza to work there for 21 years, only letting him go after an investigative report by the Boston Globe.

Records show that Rev. Barry Gamache and other church leaders at St. Mary’s were first warned about Barboza in 1998. In response, church officials did nothing.

They were warned repeatedly over the next 21 years, by both parishioners and previous victims of Barboza. In response, church officials did nothing.

When would have church officials finally acted? What inciting incident were they waiting on, another children to be hurt by Barboza? This inaction and delay is inexcusable and parishioners should demand the immediate resignation of the church officials who allowed this situation to happen in the first place.

Rev. Gamache has stated that he did not believe the allegations were credible, so he kept Barboza in his job. This kind of stunning arrogance is exactly what has led the church’s abuse scandal to affect so many in the first place. This is also yet another example of why survivors and advocates have no faith in the policies and procedures the church has laid out to prevent abuse.

The simple fact is that Rev. Gamache is no trained law enforcement official and his judgement of the allegations against Barboza is irrelevant. What is not irrelevant is that the priest used his position to keep an abuser employed within the church, and that decision should cost Rev. Gamache his position. It is clear that he cannot be counted on to protect children and have “zero tolerance” for abuse, as demanded by the Dallas charter.

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