Statement of the Diocese of Providence Relative to the Arrest of Rev. Barry Meehan
Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence
November 21, 2014
The Diocese of Providence has learned that Father Barry Meehan has been arrested and charged with first degree sexual assault.
The Diocese of Providence removed Father Meehan from all priestly ministry in January 2013 after credible allegations of sexual misconduct with minors were received. The allegations were also forwarded to law enforcement officials at that time. The diocese has been fully cooperative with law enforcement officials and is confident that the legal process will come to a proper conclusion.
In accordance with Church law, the allegations against Father Meehan were reported to the Vatican. Bishop Tobin has asked that Father Meehan be permanently removed from the priesthood. Father Meehanís canonical status is being examined and the final disposition of this case will be determined by the Vatican. His faculties, or permission to function as a priest, have already been removed in accordance with The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
The Diocese of Providence takes very seriously all allegations of abuse and works closely with the Rhode Island State Police and other law enforcement agencies in accordance with the charter and diocesan policy when an allegation of abuse is reported.
Father Meehan was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1978 and served the following assignments: Saints Peter & Paul, West Warwick 1978-1980; St. Mary, Cranston 1980-1991; St. Augustine, Providence 1991-1996; St. John the Baptist 1996-2002 and also St. James, West Warwick 2000-2002. He was appointed pastor of St. Timothy in 2002.
The Diocese urges anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse, or with credible knowledge of such abuse, by any member of the church to report the information to the Rhode Island State Police Major Crimes Unit 401-444-1000 or the diocesan Office of Education and Compliance at 401-941-0760.