Priest Sexual Abuse Case Finalized

Archdiocese of Portland
May 7, 2009

The Vatican has accepted the decision of a tribunal which heard the case of 74 year old Frederick A. Carrigan. A Church trial took place in October of last year and the judges (all from outside Maine) found Carrigan guilty of abusing a minor. He has been assigned to a life of prayer and penance which means he cannot have any ministry, present himself as a priest, or wear clerical clothes.

The tribunal's decree was sent to Rome and a letter accepting the finding and declaring it final was received by Bishop Malone April 22th. All parties in the case were then informed of the decision.

Carrigan was removed from regular ministry in 1989 for inappropriate behavior with an adult. In 1991, Carrigan was accused of abuse of a minor dating back to 1972. His limited ministry ended completely in 2002. He currently resides out of state and Church and civil officials have been notified of this case.

He served in the following parishes: St. Mary, Bath (1961); St. Joseph, Gardiner (1969); St. Mary, Bangor (1972); St. Thomas, Dover-Foxcroft (1975); St. Peter, East Millinocket (1975); St. Matthew/St. Gabriel, Hampden (1981).

In a separate case, a volunteer in the Augusta Catholic churches has been permanently removed from his position due to a previous conviction of sexual abuse of a minor. 69 year old Paul Douin, who was most recently a volunteer at St. Augustine's Church, was sentenced in 1977 to serve four years in prison for his offenses. In the 28 years since his release from prison, he has never been arrested for any type of offense.

Douin acted as a sacristan*, but was never officially designated as such, so no background check was ever done. The Diocese recently received information about his past, prompting an immediate investigation.

In the past 28 years, Douin had served in several volunteer capacities in Waterville and Augusta. Background checks became mandatory in 2003 for all employees of the Church and certain volunteer positions; the position of volunteer sacristan has not been on the list of those that require checks. In light of this case, the policy regarding background checks is being carefully reviewed and is likely to be expanded.

So far, the Church has completed background checks on more than 9600 employees and volunteers at a cost of about $52 per individual.

[*Sacristan-a person who ensures that the altar area of a church is prepared for liturgical ceremonies, such as the Mass, and that all of the items that are typically associated with a religious ceremony, i.e. sacred vessels, candles, linens, and vestments are properly prepared and maintained.]


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