Watchdog Team: Providence diocese adds another name to list of credibly accused priests

By Brian Amaral
Providence Journal
September 16, 2019

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence added a new name to its list of clergy that it says have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

Paul Desrosiers, a priest who died from injuries he suffered in a bus crash in 1984, was added to the list of names sometime after it was originally released, on July 1. His inclusion on the list brings it to 51 in total, including priests and deacons.

As of Monday his name is not included on the website, which documents allegations against Catholic clergy.

Asked why and when the new name was added to the list, Carolyn Cronin, a spokeswoman for the diocese, said in an email: “As noted at the top of the list, blue italicized text indicates information added after July 1, 2019. When the list was made public on July 1, we included in our FAQ that ‘should more information become available, the list will be updated.’”

The diocese has not responded to a number of other questions seeking clarifications, explanations or expansions on the list and the particular clergy members on it.

Desrosiers, who the diocese said died before any allegation was received, was listed as having the following assignments:

St. Vincent de Paul Church, Anthony, 1940-1943

St. John the Baptist Church, Arctic, 1943-1946

St. Joseph Church, Woonsocket, 1946-1951

Precious Blood Church, Woonsocket, 1951-1960

Diocesan Tribunal, 1959-1968

St. Joseph Church, Woonsocket, 1960-1973

Leave of Absence 1/12/1973 to 8/6/1973

St. John Church, West Warwick, 1973-1981

According to Providence Journal archives, Desrosiers died at the age of 71 in Granada, Spain, after suffering injuries in a highway crash there. He was on a two-week vacation when the tour bus he was a passenger on collided head-on with a a truck.

Born in Manville, Desrosiers was ordained in May 1940. At the time of his death, he was serving as a part-time assistant pastor of St. John the Baptist Church in West Warwick, and living in the church’s rectory, his obituary said.

Two of the 51 names on the list were noted as “publicly” accused. The diocese said allegations against those clergy members, who had died before victims came forward, couldn’t be verified or substantiated.

The diocese said Kevin O’Brien, a retired state police official and its director of compliance, included names on the list when he had “a reasoned and grounded belief that the allegation was sufficiently supported based upon the presently available and developed evidence.”



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