Priest with Nashua Ties Placed on Leave over Allegations

By Stacy Milbouer
Nashua Telegraph Staff
March 21, 2002

NASHUA – Another New Hampshire priest with ties to Greater Nashua has been relieved of his pastoral duties after allegations came to light this week that he sexually assaulted a minor within the past 25 years.

The Rev. Ronald Corriveau, pastor of St. Joseph Church in Epping, was placed on administrative leave last week, according to Assistant Attorney General William Delker.

Corriveau served at St. Joseph Church in Salem from 1974 to 1976 and St. Joseph Church in Nashua in 1977. In 1984, he was assigned to St. Christopher Church in Nashua, and then St. Louis de Gonzague Church in Nashua for a portion of 1985, before he moved to Epping later that year.

Delker said he could not give details about the case and would not say if Corriveau was serving in Nashua when the alleged abuse occurred, but he did say that the Manchester Police Department is investigating the case. Corriveau served at St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manchester from 1978 to 1982.

Prior to Corriveau, the Diocese of Manchester had given the attorney general’s office the names of 15 priests accused of sexually abusing children over a 25-year period ending in 1987.

Corriveau’s case brings the total number of those priests with Nashua ties up to 11.

Delker said that since the diocese released its original list of 14 priests on Feb. 15, his office has received calls from people making abuse allegations about 10 to 12 other priests who were not identified by the diocese.

“None of those, other than Corriveau, were active priests,” he said. “It’s our policy to notify the parish right away if any of those priests are still active.”

Delker said the remainder of those 10 to 12 priests are either retired, have left the priesthood or are dead.

Patrick McGee, a spokesman for the Diocese of Manchester, told The Associated Press that the church is not conducting an internal inquiry about Corriveau and is awaiting results of the investigation by civil authorities.

McGee added that the diocese would not go back to other churches in which Corriveau had served for possible additional allegations because “there really wouldn’t be a process for doing that.

“I think the fact that it’s publicly reported and that the attorney general’s office is doing an investigation would address those issues,” McGee said.

The Rev. Roland Cote, pastor at St. Louis de Gonzague, said he wasn’t familiar with Corriveau.

“I know who he is, but not anything else about him,” Cote said.

Cote has been pastor at St. Louis since 1991, and before that served at the church from 1982 to 1984, during the time frame that Corriveau served at St. Christopher.

“I think this has been difficult for the people here at St. Louis who knew him,” Cote said. “This morning, two people came up to express their shock. They feel badly and said it was difficult for them to believe.

“In these cases, there are allegations that have come to light, and in many of the cases, the statute of limitations has run out and we’ll never know if they were true or not,” Cote said. “So we’re left with all these allegations that are leading people to think these priests are guilty in a country where you’re innocent before proven guilty. It’s a real paradox and it’s sad.”

John Levesque, a parishioner at St. Christopher since 1977 and the church’s building engineer, didn’t have strong memories of Corriveau.

“I may have brushed up against him, but I don’t know anything about him,” he said. “It was a long time ago and basically I’m getting sick of this whole thing.”

Neither the Rev. Richard Kelly, the pastor at St. Christopher, nor the Rev. Gerard Desmarais, pastor of St. Joseph in Nashua, could be reached for comment.

Stacy Milbouer can be reached at 594-6402.


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