Sex abuse charges against New Bedfordpriest ‘credible’

Standard-Times / SouthCoastToday

November 21, 2020

By Kiernan Dunlop

A Ministerial Review Board has determined that allegations of sexual abuse of minors brought against a New Bedford Roman Catholic priest are credible and recommended he be permanently removed from priestly ministry, according to the Diocese of Fall River.

“Based upon my own review of the evidence and the thoughtful work of the Review Board, I have accepted the recommendations and met this week with Father [Daniel] Lacroix to inform him of this decision,” Bishop Edgar. M da Cunha said in a letter that was read to parishioners of Lacroix’s the weekend of November 14 – 15.

In 2019, Lacroix was named co-pastor at three North End Churches – St. Joseph-St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima Parishes. St. Mary, where Lacroix had been serving as a pastor since 2017, has an associated school, All Saints Catholic School, which serves preschool through Grade 8 students. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic St. Mary is the only church where Mass is currently being held out of the three parishes and the announcement about the diocese’s decision was made there, according to Director of Communications John Kearns.

A priest removed from ministry may not publicly celebrate a Mass or sacrament, preach, present himself as a priest or wear clerical clothing, participate in any meeting or gathering or engage in any form of ministry, and he may not reside in a rectory or any other parish or diocesan facility, according to Kearns.

Kearns did not say if Lacroix would receive any retirement benefits or a severance.

In November 2019, Lacroix was placed on administrative leave after an external review of the diocese’s personnel files revealed information related to alleged misconduct that is said to have occurred decades ago.

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