|Retired City Priest Accused of Abuse
Taunton Daily Gazette
March 17, 2008
TAUNTON — A popular retired priest who ministered in Taunton for years has been stripped of his affiliation with the Catholic Church, the Diocese of Fall River announced today. Rev. Bento Fraga is accused of an improper sexual conduct with a minor nearly 30 years ago, according to a release from the Diocese.
He was removed from ministry in accordance with the Diosese's and U.S. Bishops' regulations.
Fraga can no longer perform duties or live at St. Anthony's Rectory, where he'd been residing since his 2005 retirement, marking the end of a nearly 50-year priesthood.
The Diocese was made aware of alleged sexual encounter in January, and conducted its own investigation, the release says. "Although Father Fraga has denied the allegation, the Board has determined that the allegation is credible," it states.
Fraga is accused of one instance of sexual misconduct with a minor at a private home in 1979. He was pastor of the Holy Ghost Parish in Attleboro at the time.
No further details about the accusation were available as of Monday night, and a phone call to St. Anthony's Rectory was unanswered.
"It is a Barnstable matter right now," said Greg Miliote, spokesman for the Bristol County District Attorney's Office. "At this point we don't have any comments on the case."
Letters from Bishop George W. Coleman announcing Fraga's removal from the church were distributed at masses at each of the parishes he had been assigned to since his 1956 ordination, the most recent of which were St. Anthony's and St. Paul's in Taunton.
He moved to St. Joseph's in Taunton in 1969 and spent the next 35 years in parishes in Attleboro, New Bedford and Provincetown before retiring at age 75.
Anyone with information about the accusation is asked to contact Arlene McNamee of the Office of Child Protection of Catholic Social Services at 508-674-4681 or the Barnstable County District Attorney's Office at 508-362-8110.
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