Diocese releases list of clergy ‘credibly accused’ of sex abuse

By Brian Amaral
Providence Journal
July 1, 2019

[with video]

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence on Monday morning released a list of clergy, priests and deacons who have been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing children.

The list, posted on the diocese’s website just after 8 a.m., represented generations of private torment for victims and public disgrace for abusers and their enablers. It includes 50 names, 19 of them still living but none still active.

The state recently extended the statute of limitations for victims to file lawsuits over child sexual abuse from seven years to 35.

To find the list of credibly accused Diocese of Providence priests and deacons, click here.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin announced in December that the list would be released sometime in 2019; in a statement, the diocese said it hopes the list will provide “healing and consolation.”

The list was broken down into several categories, including credibly accused living clergy, credibly accused living deacons, credibly accused deceased clergy, credibly accused deceased religious order priests, and two “publicly accused” deceased clergy. All but one of the 19 living clergy and deacons were listed as “removed from ministry.” The one who wasn’t removed had resigned before an allegation was received, the diocese said.

One priest was born in 1904, and was ordained in 1930. He died in 1977, before any allegation was received. The youngest living credibly accused priest is now 60, and was ordained in 1990.

The priest most recently removed from the ministry was removed in 2016. Samuel Turillo’s most recent assignment was at the Sacred Heart Church in West Warwick, ending in 1994, the list shows. He is 98.

Behind the names on the list are many more people who were abused, said Timothy Conlon, a lawyer who has represented “at least 50 or 60” victims.

“Most of these people are serial pedophiles,” Conlon said.

Reviewing the list a few minutes after it was posted, Conlon said he was paying special attention to when the priests were listed as removed from the ministry. He was unfamiliar with some of the names of people credibly accused of child sexual abuse, he said.

“To the extent that these guys can be held accountable, it gives comfort to victims,” Conlon said. “Irrespective of any legal issues, it gives comfort to victims, to have their status as a victim affirmed in some fashion.”

Herbert “Hub” Brennan last year testified in favor of extending the statute of limitations and told lawmakers he was raped and sexually assaulted by the Rev. Brendan Smyth in the 1960s.

Brennan released the following statement Monday morning: “The release of this list of credibly accused priests and clergy should have believers and nonbelievers alike recognize the unfortunate truth that the Catholic Church, including the Diocese of Providence, has effectively run a child sex ring for decades, if not generations.

“Armed with this knowledge, in combination with recently passed legislation extending the statute of limitations for crimes against them, our hope is that those who have suffered and survived this abuse will now come forward and seek the help they so deserve. What remains painfully absent is any genuine sense of human atonement by the diocese,” Brennan said.

Smyth, whose name appears on the list, is dead. He served as visiting priest, counselor and teacher at Our Lady of Mercy School and Church in East Greenwich for three years, between 1965 to 1968, when Brennan was between 8 and 11 years old. Smyth later returned to Ireland and pleaded guilty there to 141 counts of sexual abuse. He died in prison in Ireland in 1997.


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