Protestors want former Barrington priest investigated amid allegations

WJAR-TV, NBC-10 [Providence RI]

August 5, 2022

By Joanna Bouras, NBC 10 News

As two men protested in front of the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Providence on Friday, the word came down from the Bishop.

Father Eric Silva, who was an assistant pastor of Saint Luke’s Parish in Barrington, won’t be reassigned to Saint Thomas Moore in Narragansett.

Silva was put on temporary administrative leave after parents at a Cranston school claimed he asked children inappropriate questions about their sexuality during confession.

“Committed outrageous offenses against children in a confessional of all places,” said Dr. Robert Hoatson, president of a non-profit that supports sexual assault violence victims and their families.

Hoatson drove from New Jersey to protest outside the church.

Silva has only been accused of holding inappropriate conversations, for which the diocese placed him on temporary leave.

Silva released a statement through the diocese, saying: “It is with a heavy heart that I realize my presence there will only hurt the parish and cause division amongst the good people of God.”

Hoatson said it’s more important than ever to speak out against sexual abuse happening in the Catholic church so that it doesn’t happen to more children.

“I am a sexual abuse survivor,” he said. “This type of thing goes on all the time in every state and every town in every country in the entire globe.”

Ryan Brophy lives in East Greenwich and said he protested to protect his daughter and all other children.

“When I look at my daughter, I cannot help but think about all of the other victims who no one is protecting,” Brophy said.

Protestors said rescinding Silva’s transfer is not enough, and they want him thoroughly investigated.