Update: Advocates Want Information on Accused Priests

Buffalo News
March 29, 2011

Officials of two organizations advocating for victims of clergy sex abuse renewed their call Monday morning for greater disclosure from the Diocese of Providence.

For roughly a decade, the groups say, they've been seeking from the diocese the names of Rhode Island priests accused of sexual abuse, said Anne Barrett Doyle, director of the organization Bishop Accountability.

"We're renewing that call," Doyle said.

The renewal, Doyle said, follows news last week that a grand jury in Philadelphia found 37 priests accused of sexual abuse in that diocese were still serving. Also, Doyle said, last summer a suit was filed in Boston against a priest for sexual abuse.

That priest, Father John Dority, formerly of Woonsocket, pleaded no contest to second-degree child molestation charges in 2005 in Rhode Island. He was given a 20-year sentence, with three years to serve in prison and 17 years suspended.

Dority, according to the sex offender registry of Connecticut, is now living in Coventry, Conn.

Doyle said she wants to know if Dority served in the Diocese of Providence, and if he's one of the 125 priests the diocese previously reported have been accused of sexual abuse.

Monday afternoon, the diocese issued a statement saying it has "no record of a Fr. John Francis Dority serving as a priest in the diocese. Since he was a religious order priest, any questions relative to his assignments should be directed to the Order of the Friars Minor, commonly known as the Franciscans."

Dority is not currently a Franciscan, Jocelyn Thomas, a spokesman for the order, officially called the Order of Friars Minor, told The Associated Press. The exact nature and duration of his relationship with the order was not immediately clear, but the Massachusetts lawsuit claims Dority was a Franciscan from 1966 until 1972, the period during which he is accused of abusing the plaintiffs.

Of the list of the 125 priests, said David Clohessy, director of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, the names of 96 are still unknown.

"Some, no doubt, are guilty, still active and some may still be molesting children," Clohessy said.

Doyle said the Diocese of Providence has reported that 1,200 priests have served in Rhode Island since 1971, and that 125 of them have been accused of sexual abuse.

"This makes this diocese one of the most dangerous for children in the United States," Doyle said.

In addition to an ongoing request of the Diocese of Providence, Doyle said she intended to ask Attorney General Peter Kilmartin to conduct an investigation.

"Attorney General Kilmartin has a reputation for being aggressive against child molesters. We have high hopes for this attorney general."

The diocese has said it is aggressive in its efforts to find victims, including through ads and links on every page of its website.

-- The original version of this report was published at 9:22 a.m. It was udpated at 11:41 a.m. and 1:38 p.m.


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