Assignment Record– Rev. Msgr. Louis Ward Dunn

Summary of Case: Dunn was placed on leave in 1994 after a woman made a complaint of sexual misconduct to the bishop. She filed a lawsuit in 1995. Dunn was tried on two separate rape allegations. One was dismissed; he was convicted in the second and received 10-year sentence. At least two other suits were filed. Dunn died in 2001. Some claims were settled in 2002 but one of the original complainants did not settled. She carried her case all the way to the R.I. Supreme Court, which dismissed it in February 2008. She then appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ordained: 1947
Died: 2001

Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Bishop of Providence was Francis P. Keough (1934-1947).

1948 St. Mary's Crompton RI


Pastor was Rev. Joseph M. Degnan



Russell J. McVinney replaced Keough (1948-1971).

1950 Appolinarus Seminary Rome Italy1950    
1950 1956 Cathedral of SS Peter and Paul Providence RI


With Dunn during his time at the Cathedral were Msgr. Bernard J Lennon and Msgr. Charles J. Mahoney 1950-1951, Msgr. William F. Murray 1950-1956, Rev. John F. O'Neil 1950-1952, Rev. Arthur T. Geoghegan 1950-1953, Rev. William J. Carey 1950-1956, Rev. Edwin F. Kirkman 1950-1955, Rev. Robert J. Randall 1951-1953, Rev. Fernando P. de Freitas 1952-1953, Rev. James P. Hynes 1953-1956, Rev. Joseph A. Cardoza 1953-1954, Rev. Daniel P. Reilly 1953-1956, Rev. Cornelius B. Lynch and Rev. John J. Walsh 1954-1956, and Rev. Lionel A. Blain 1955-1956.


The Cathedral had a school, Tyler Grammar and Junior High, with 372-293 boys and 362-303 girls.

1956 1964 Mother of Hope Novitiate Hillsgrove RI Chaplain

Mother of Hope was a convent.

Dunn was elevated to Monsignor in 1957.

1964 1967 Christ the King


Accused of raping a 14-year- old girl while pastor of Christ the King, in 1965 (Providence Journal-Bulletin
March 29, 1996).

• Dunn accused of sexually assaulting a teenage girl in 1967 (Providence Journal-Bulletin, March 29, 1996).



Dunn's assistant priest 1964-1966 was Rev. Edmund C. Micarelli.

Christ the King was the university parish for the University of Rhode Island.

Micarelli later with multiple allegations of sexual abuse of boys.

1964 1967 University of Rhode Island Newman Club


• A URI student reported to Bishop McVinney Dunn's "inappropriate sexual advances" toward young girls. Dunn was subsequently promoted by McVinney to two additional Chancery positions (per 1998 legal complaint).


  Dunn served as advisor to the Club (per 1998 legal complaint).  


Louis E. Gelineau succeeded McVinney (1971-1997).

1994 St. Thomas



• Reportedly made inappropriate sexual advances toward a 12 year old girl in 1986 (per 1998 legal complaint).

• Dunn charged in 1996 with first-degree sexual assault of a 21-year-old woman in 1982 (Providence Journal-Bulletin
March 29, 1996).


• Placed on administrative leave after allegation of sexual misconduct (Providence [RI] Journal-Bulletin
July 3, 1994).


Convicted in 1997 of rape (Providence Journal-Bulletin
December 21, 1999).



Working under Dunn were Rev. Ralph R. Hogan 1967-1970,Rev. Gerald P. Pincince 1967-1968, Rev. John C. Halloran 1968-1975, Rev. Thomas L. Keenan 1970-1971, Rev. Peter M. Cavanaugh 1971-1982, Deacon David Norris 1972-1974, then as Rev. David Norris 1977-1980, Rev. Ronald E. Brassard 1974-1976, Rev. Robert A. Rochon 1975-1977, Rev. Robert C. Gagne 1980-1984, Rev. Louis T. Natalizia 1981-1986, Rev. Richard A. Valentine 1986-1991, Rev. Joseph R. Paquette 1991-1994

St. Thomas had a school with 314-120 students.










Brassard accused in the 1990s of sexual abuse of a boy in the 1970s in IL (Providence Journal-Bulletin
May 5, 1995)

1952 1964 Vice Chancellor        
1953 1960 Vicar for Religious        
1964 1994 Diocesan Tribunal        
1972 1975 Dean of North Providence-#5 Deanery        
1973 1977 Senate of Priests        


Robert Edward Mulvee followed Gelineau as bishop (1997-2005).

2001 Retired Providence RI  

Lived at St. John Vianney Residence.


Dunn died in 2001.

Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, 1948-2001).

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy & Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.


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