Former Woonsocket Priest Charged with Child Molestation
By Rachel Nunes
November 5, 2020
WOONSOCKET, RI — A former Woonsocket priest is facing allegations of child molestation. John Petrocelli was indicted by the statewide grand jury Monday on three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation.
The indictment alleges that the acts happened from November 1981 to October 1990, when Petrocelli served as an assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish in Woonsocket. The victims are believed to be three boys, all under the age of 14 at the time.
"There is nothing more critical to the mission of my Office than to deliver justice on behalf of victims and of the people of Rhode Island, regardless of the time that has passed after the alleged offense," Attorney General Peter Neronha said. "Our ongoing review of alleged misconduct by clergy in Rhode Island is intended to achieve that result wherever possible."
The indictment, which was secret, was unsealed Thursday and Petrocelli was arraigned in Providence County Superior Court.
Neronha's office has been investigating allegations of sexual abuse among clergy members, and the Roman Catholic Diocese's handling of the reports, since last year.