Cops: St. Joseph's Deacon Molested Boys

By Steve Nielsen
August 16, 2011

[with video]

WEST WARWICK, R.I. (WPRI) - An elderly man who worked as a deacon of St. Joseph's School in West Warwick, was placed under arrest on Wednesday, accused of molesting three young boys, said police.

The principal of the St. Joseph's contacted local police at the end of June, reporting an incident of "inappropriate behavior" of a staff member, Deacon Laurence Gagnon.

After learning of the incident, the Providence Diocese said they "immediately launched an internal investigation." They also notified the West Warwick Police Department and DCYF officials.

Although the preliminary investigation did not show there was criminal activity, Deacon Laurence Gagnon submitted a letter of resignation to the parish, which was effective June 18.

Further investigation into the matter determined that there were credible allegations of "criminal behavior."

Authorities arrested Gagnon, 71, of Warwick on Wednesday morning.

He has been charged with three counts of second degree child molestation.

In a statement to Eyewitness News the Providence Diocese says in part, "The Diosese continues to fully cooperate with the investigation."

Gagnon's bail was set at $30,000. He was also ordered to have no contact with anyone under 16-years-old.


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