Former Holy Family Priest charged with child molestation

By Lauren Clem
Valley Breeze
November 11, 2020

A former priest who served at Holy Family Parish in Woonsocket from 1981 to 1990 was indicted by a grand jury on child molestation charges last week.

John Petrocelli, who was the assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish, faces three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation. He is accused of molesting three male victims under the age of 14 during his time at the church.

The Diocese of Providence said in a statement that Petrocelli was removed from ministry in 2002 following credible allegations of abuse. His name was included on a list of credibly accused clergy released last year.

Last year, the office of Attorney General Peter Neronha began a review of diocesan records related to allegations of clergy child sexual abuse. Neronha said in a statement that review is ongoing, and the office will bring criminal charges where appropriate.

“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,” said Neronha. “Our ongoing review of alleged misconduct by clergy in Rhode Island is intended to achieve that result wherever possible.”

In addition to Holy Family Church, Petrocelli served assignments at St. Ann Church in Providence, the Cathedral of SS. Peter & Paul in Providence, Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence and St. Joseph Hospital in Providence.


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