Former Easton priests among 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused in Fall River Diocese
By Kiernan Dunlop
January 9, 2021
|Diocese of Fall River Bishop Edgar M. DaCunha announced Thursday the release of a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.|
|The Rev. James W. Fahey|
Two years after announcing a review of allegations of sexual abuse against minors, the Diocese of Fall River on Thursday released a list of 75 clergy credibly or publicly accused, including two former Easton priests.
“As I pray for a spirit of healing and reconciliation, I know that we cannot move on without an honest accounting for the past,” Bishop Edgar M da Cunha said in a press release from the diocese. “As your bishop, I am deeply and profoundly sorry for the abuse that was perpetrated by priests within this diocese and have recommitted myself to do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”
Jim Scanlan, a survivor of clergy sexual abuse that occurred during his time at Boston College High School, said it's never a bad thing to have a list released.
"I know, in my case, any time you see a list and see a name on there with someone who has raped or abused you, you say 'Oh my gosh I'm not the only one,'" Scanlan explained, "because most of your life you think, 'I am I the only one that happened to.'"
For survivors that experience shame, guilt, and fear, knowing you're not alone means a lot, according to Scanlan, though he does question how much was potentially left out of the list.
In response to the release of the list, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests issued a press release calling the step long overdue after the diocese refused to release a list for years.
SNAP calls for an extensive outreach campaign to ensure victims are informed, parishes are alerted, and the public can lean the true scope of clergy abuse within Fall River's borders.
The diocese’s review revealed that 44 of the 650 priests who have served as a Fall River Diocesan priest since the diocese’s founding in 1904, or roughly 7%, have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
Twenty-eight of the priests that were credibly accused and are included on the list are deceased and most of the allegations involved conduct that occurred from the 1960s to 1980s.
In addition to the Fall River Diocesan priests, the list of credibly accused clergy includes seven religious order priests or religious brothers and two priests incardinated in other dioceses for conduct occurring within the Diocese of Fall River.
The two former Easton priests named on Thursday are William J. Boffa, who served at Immaculate Conception, and James W. Fahey, who also served at Immaculate Conception.
The list of publicly accused clergy includes 19 clergy or other religious who ministered in the Diocese of Fall River who have been mentioned in previous public announcements by other entities but for whom the Diocese of Fall River lacks sufficient information to make its own credibility determination and three Fall River Diocesan priests who are living and have been publicly accused but there has not been a determination whether the allegations are credible.
"We appreciate that Diocesan leaders in Fall River went a step further than many of their counterparts and chose to list, from the outset, religious order priests and clergy who spent time in Fall River but abused elsewhere," SNAP's press release stated, "Hair splitting over who had jurisdiction over these clerics is not valuable when it comes to informing the public about dangerous men, an exhaustive list of abusers and their information is."
More than 75% of the names published Thursday have already been made public by previous announcements from the Diocese of Fall River, media reports, or lists published by other dioceses, religious orders, third-party advocates, or civil authorities, according to the press release.
The diocese did not specify which names are being made public for the first time.
The list includes the clergy members' birth year, ordination year, diocese on incardination, assignment history in the diocese, and status — whether the clergy is deceased, laicized, or has had their faculties removed or restricted.
In a Frequently Asked Questions page on the diocese's website, it explains there are many factors considered when discipling a priest for misconduct and that the bishop has the authority to restrict a priest from public ministry but the laicization process can take many years and ultimately goes through the Vatican.
The list does not include the year or location of abuse or the number of victims association with each clergy member.
A spokesperson for the diocese, John Kearns, said the diocese tried to strike a balance.
"We wanted to provide important information about each priest to survivors and others, but we also wanted to be respectful of privacy concerns," Kearns said in an email, "We may be able to provide further information — for example dates of assignments — at a later date."
Knowing the number of victims "slams home certain thing," according to Scanlan, who learned that the priest that abused him, James Talbot, admitted to abusing 88 victims.
"That was a very emotional moment for me," Scanlan said of learning the amount of other victims, "It validated me coming forward at the time and helping to put him away."
Another critical piece of information that is missing from the diocese list, according to SNAP, is when Catholic officials first learned of the allegations against each priest and what steps were taken in response.
"In order to fix what is broken one needs to have all the pieces first, and a clear look at how Diocesan leaders handled each allegations is an important piece," SNAP wrote.
Mitchell Garabedian, an attorney representing 10 victims in the Diocese of Fall River spanning decades who has pushed for the diocese to released a list, said he also thinks the diocese should provide information about which superiors "covered up the abuse by pedophile priests and what the diocese did or didn't do with regard to preventing sexual abuse."
Garabedian specifically called on Da Cunha to release archived documents associated with the priests since they will include all that information.
"Those documents should be posted so that the extent of the coverup is revealed, the truth will be told, and transparency will be practiced," Garabedian said.
Scanlan called it infuriating and frustrating that the bishops that knew about the abuse and transferred these priests to other parishes without saying anything are never held accountable by the Catholic Church.
"As far as I'm concerned they're just as guilty as the pedophiles and the rapists," Scanlan said.
Garabedian also questioned why the list itself is only being published now, in 2021, as opposed to the past decades.
"My initial reaction is where's this list been for decades?" Garabedian said. "By not publishing this list for decades the Diocese of Fall River has revictimized many victims and endangered the safety of children."
He called on Da Cunha to explain to the public why it has taken the diocese decades to publicly name the priest who've committed crimes.
Da Cunha announced two years ago that the diocese would be performing a review of its files.
"While most of these names have already been reported in the media, the publication of a list is necessary for greater transparency on our part in response to clerical sexual abuse," Da Cunha wrote in a letter to parishioners announcing the review in 2019. "I wish that this information could be available sooner; yet it takes time and diligence to compile a list that is accurate and complete."
In a letter to parishioners Thursday, Da Cunha said that while the review has taken longer than first anticipated, "it was crucial that we took the time needed to do it right."
There are currently no priests in ministry who have been credibly accused due to the Diocese’s “zero-tolerance” policy.
The diocese's press release details five phases the diocese’s review process went through which included locating and assembling files of clergy and other religious with accusations against them dating back 70 years, an initial evaluation of the files by former FBI Assistant Director William Gavin that was reviewed by Kinsale Management Consulting, and subsequent investigations by another firm, as well as legal counsel, and a core advisory team or diocesan personnel.
“We believe that the Diocese’s investigative and review process was thorough and balanced and was fair to those making an accusation as well as to the accused,” said former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis, whose company reviewed the Diocese’s process for thoroughness, fairness, and reasonableness, “The publishing of this list is an essential step as the Diocese moves forward to promote accountability, transparency, and healing.”
According to the diocese, the list will be updated should new information become available and if the publication results in other survivors coming forward.
“As a Church community we must sadly acknowledge that survivors have often not been heard and supported,” Da Cunha said. “We are focused on creating a safe environment in which survivors can find support and someone to listen. You can be assured and confident of our ongoing pastoral care.”
The diocese has a Victims Assistance Coordinator, licensed social worker Carolyn Shipp, who provides referral for therapy, support for survivors, and a yearly Healing Mass to pray for all who have been impacted by sexual abuse.
“I am committed to working with Bishop da Cunha to create a safe environment for children and offering healing and reconciliation for survivors for whom these grievous acts have caused enormous pain, anger and confusion,” Shipp said.
SNAP called on the diocese to send all the information uncovered during the review process to local police, prosecuting attorneys, and the Massachusetts Attorney General's office.
On it's website, the diocese states it reports allegations it receives regarding sexual abuse of minors to law enforcement, and is committed to cooperating with any investigations by law enforcement and civil authorities, in accordance with Massachusetts law.
Those who know of an incident of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest, deacon, employee, or volunteer should immediately call local authorities and then contact Shipp at 508-985-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those Credibly Accused
Name; Year of birth; Year of ordination; Fall River Diocese assignments
Andrade, Manuel Jr. ;1926 ;1949 ;Diocese of Fall River; St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River… St. John of God, Somerset… Santo Christo, Fall River… Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, New Bedford… Our Lady of the Angels, Fall River… Espirito Santo, Fall River… Immaculate Conception, New Bedford… Our Lady of Health, Fall River… St. Michael, Fall River… St. John the Baptist, New Bedford… St. Anthony, Taunton
Annunziato, Armando ; 1931 ; 1956; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Mary, North Attleboro…St. Francis of Assisi, New Bedford…St. Mary's Home, New Bedford…St. Vincent's Home, Fall River…St. Bernard, Assonet…St. James, New Bedford…St. Mary, Mansfield
Avila, Jose M. Bettencourt e (aka George Avellar) ; 1906 ; 1930 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Anthony, Taunton…Immaculate Conception, New Bedford…Our Lady of Health, Fall River…St. Anthony, East Falmouth…Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, New Bedford
Baker, William F. ; 1949 ; 1977 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. John, Attleboro…St. Patrick, Falmouth…Our Lady of Grace, Westport…St. Mary, Seekonk…St. Joseph, Fall River
Barney, H. Stanley ; 1949 ; 1975 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Dominic, Swansea…Sacred Heart, Fall River…St. Pius X, South Yarmouth…Our Lady of Victory, Centerville…St. George, Westport…St. Mary, Mansfield
Bernier, Adrien E. ; 1919 ; 1957 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Michael, Ocean Grove…Notre Dame, Fall River…St. Mathieu, Fall River…Sacred Heart, New Bedford…St. Anne, New Bedford
Boffa, William J. ; 1949 ; 1975 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Louis and St. Joseph, Fall River…Our Lady of Grace, Westport…Immaculate Conception, North Easton…St. Vincent de Paul Camp, Westport…St. Joseph, Taunton…Coyle & Cassidy High School, Taunton…Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Seekonk…St. John Neumann, East Freetown…St. William, Fall River…St. Stephen, Attleboro…St. Pius X, South Yarmouth
Boulet, Normand J. ; 1940 ; 1969 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Hyacinth, New Bedford…St. Stephen, Dodgeville…St. Joseph, Attleboro…Boy Scouts of America, Attleboro…Immaculate Conception, Taunton…Our Lady of Grace, Westport…Boy Scouts of America, New Bedford…St. Michael, Swansea…St. Anthony, New Bedford…St. Jacques, Taunton…Boy Scouts of America, Taunton
Bowen, Donald J. ; 1938 ; 1964 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Patrick, Somerset…St. Joseph, North Dighton…St. Mary, Norton…St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro
Clark, James A. ; 1929 ; 1955 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Mary, New Bedford…Bishop Feehan High School, Attleboro…Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, Taunton
Connolly, Paul G. ; 1929 ; 1956 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Mary, Taunton…Immaculate Conception, Fall River…St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis…St. Mary, New Bedford…St. Elizabeth, Edgartown
Cronin, John P. ; 1931 ; 1957 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Patrick, Fall River…St. Vincent's Home, Fall River…St. Bernard Church, Assonet…St. Joseph, Taunton…Our Lady of Fatima, Swansea…St. Joseph, North Dighton…St. Anne, Fall River
de Souza, Maurice ; 1912 ; 1939 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. John the Baptist, New Bedford…St. Anthony, East Falmouth…St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River…St. Anthony, Taunton…Our Lady of Health, Fall River
DeMello, Arthur T. ; 1934 ; 1962 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Our Lady of Lourdes, Taunton…Our Lady of Health, Fall River…St. John of God, Somerset…St. Mary, Taunton…Immaculate Conception, New Bedford…St. Elizabeth, Fall River
dos Reis, Arthur C. ; 1902 ; 1926 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Holy Family, East Taunton…St. Michael, Fall River…Espirito Santo, Fall River…St. Anthony, Fall River…Our Lady of Health, Fall River…Santo Christo, Fall River
Dupuis, J. Arthur G. ; 1907 ; 1933 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Joseph, Attleboro…Notre Dame, Fall River…St. Joseph Orphanage, Fall River…St. Louis de France, Swansea
Dylla, Hugo ; 1874 ; 1899 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, New Bedford…Holy Rosary, Taunton…St. Stanislaus, Fall River…Holy Cross, Fall River
Fahey, James W. ; 1944 ; 1970 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Our Lady of the Assumption, Osterville…Immaculate Conception, North Easton…St. Theresa of the Child Jesus, South Attleboro
Fernandes, Stephen A. ; 1950 ; 1976 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro…Holy Name, New Bedford…Sts. Peter and Paul, Fall River…St. James, New Bedford…Christ the King, Mashpee…St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis…Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford
Fraga, Bento R. ; 1930 ; 1956 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. John of God, Somerset…St. Joseph, Taunton…Holy Ghost, Attleboro…St. John the Baptist, New Bedford…St. Peter, Provincetown…St. Paul, Taunton
Furtado, Steven R. ; 1947 ; 1973 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Our Lady of Lourdes, Taunton…St. Luke's Hospital, New Bedford…St. John, New Bedford…Charlton Memorial Hospital, Fall River…Sacred Heart, Fall River…Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, New Bedford…Our Lady of Health, Fall River…St. Anthony of Padua, Fall River…Espirito Santo, Fall River…Holy Ghost, Attleboro
Herrera, Hernando ; 1967 ; 1998 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Joseph, Taunton…Coyle & Cassidy High School, Taunton…Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Seekonk…St. Mary Cathedral, Fall River
Higgins, Phillip J. ; 1937 ; 1973 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. George, Westport…St. Peter, Provincetown…St. Lawrence, New Bedford
Kaszynski, Robert S. ; 1933 ; 1960 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Patrick, Fall River…St. Stanislaus, Fall River
Keliher, Cornelius J. ; 1907 ; 1932 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Patrick, Wareham…Our Lady of the Assumption, Osterville…St. Louis, Fall River…Sts. Peter and Paul, Fall River…St. Mary, Hebronville
Kozanko, Andrew ; 1974 ; 2000 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Corpus Christi, East Sandwich…Holy Name of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, New Bedford…St. Anne’s Hospital, Fall River…Notre Dame, Fall River…St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis
Lacroix, Daniel W. ; 1959 ; 1988 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Vincent de Paul Camp, Westport…Holy Name Church, New Bedford…Holy Redeemer, Chatham…St. Patrick, Wareham…St. Mary, Mansfield…St. Francis Xavier, Acushnet…St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis…Our Lady Queen of Martyrs, Seekonk…St. Mary, New Bedford…St. Joseph-St. Theresa, New Bedford…Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford
Landry, David J. ; 1962 ; 1987 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro…St. Anne, Fall River…St. Mary, Taunton…Immaculate Conception, Taunton…St. Jacques, Taunton…St. Pius X, South Yarmouth…Our Lady of Victory, Centerville
Maguire, Joseph D. ; 1944 ; 1970 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. James, New Bedford…St. Patrick, Somerset…St. Patrick, Falmouth…Boy Scouts of Cape Cod Area…St. Elizabeth, Edgartown…Sacred Heart, Oak Bluffs…St. Joseph, Taunton
McCarthy, Raymond W. ; 1919 ; 1945 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Sacred Heart, Fall River…St. Patrick, Somerset…St. Patrick, Fall River…St. Mark, Attleboro Falls…Our Lady of Victory, Centerville…St. John the Baptist, New Bedford
Messier, Donald E. ; 1937 ; 1968 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Jean Baptiste, Fall River…St. Mathieu, Fall River…Our Lady of Fatima, New Bedford…St. Patrick, Fall River…St. Thomas More, Somerset…Immaculate Conception, Taunton…Marian Manor, Taunton
Murphy, James E. ; 1935 ; 1962 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Patrick, Fall River…St. Mary, Taunton…Sacred Heart, Taunton…St. Jacques, Taunton
Neylon, Bruce M. ; 1948 ; 1975 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Mary, Mansfield…Holy Name, Fall River…St. Patrick, Wareham…Sturdy Memorial Hospital, Attleboro…St. John, Attleboro…St. Mary, Seekonk…St. Stanislaus, Fall River…Holy Trinity, Fall River
Nichols, Herbert T. ; 1948 ; 1975 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Mary, New Bedford…St. Joseph, Fall River…St. Ann, Raynham…St. Joseph, Taunton…Boy Scouts of America, Attleboro-Taunton Area…St. Mary, Taunton…St. Anne, Fall River…St. Joan of Arc, Orleans…Charlton Memorial Hospital, Fall River…St. James, New Bedford…Our Lady of Lourdes, Wellfleet…St. Anthony of Padua, New Bedford…St. Bernadette, Fall River
Norton, William W. ; 1941 ; 1967 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Sacred Heart, Taunton…St. Kilian, New Bedford…Cathedral Camp, East Freetown…Bishop Stang High School, Dartmouth…St. Mary's Home, New Bedford…Holy Name, New Bedford…St. Mary, New Bedford…St. Patrick, Wareham…St. Patrick, Fall River…St. Joseph, Woods Hole…Our Lady of Lourdes, Wellfleet…Our Lady of Victory, Centerville…St. Anne, Fall River…St. Anne's Hospital, Fall River
Paquette, Edward O. ; 1928 ; 1957 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Mary, Taunton…St. Mary, Mansfield…St. Kilian, New Bedford
Pegnam, John W. ; 1931 ; 1960 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Francis Xavier, Hyannis…Immaculate Conception, Taunton…St. Mary, Norton
Porter, James R. ; 1935 ; 1960 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Mary, North Attleboro…Sacred Heart, Fall River…St. James, New Bedford
Quinn, Justin J. ; 1926 ; 1953 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Mary's Cathedral, Fall River…St. Kilian, New Bedford…St. Thomas More, Somerset…St. Lawrence, New Bedford…St. Elizabeth, Edgartown…St. Rita, Marion…Immaculate Conception, Fall River…St. Anne, Fall River…St. Mary's Home, New Bedford…Madonna Manor, Attleboro…Sacred Heart, North Attleboro
Rausch, Edward ; 1927 ; 1954 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. John, Attleboro
Robillard, Raymond A. ; 1940 ; 1966 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Hyacinth, New Bedford…St. Joseph, Attleboro…Notre Dame, Fall River…Sacred Heart, New Bedford…St. Louis, Fall River…St. Jacques, Taunton…St. Theresa, South Attleboro…St. Stephen, Attleboro…St. Pius X, South Yarmouth…Holy Ghost, Attleboro…Rose Hawthorne Lathrop Home, Fall River
Shovelton, William J. ; 1922 ; 1946 ; Diocese of Fall River ; Our Lady of the Isle, Nantucket…St. Louis, Fall River…St. Joseph, Fall River…Sacred Heart, Fall River…St. Thomas More, Somerset…Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, Seekonk…St. William, Fall River
Simoes, Gilbert J. ; 1933 ; 1961 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Michael, Fall River…Our Lady of Mt Carmel, New Bedford…Santo Christo, Fall River…St. John the Baptist, Westport
Tripp, Kevin F. ; 1942 ; 1968 ; Diocese of Fall River ; St. Patrick, Fall River…Holy Name, Fall River…St. John the Evangelist, Attleboro…St. Luke's Hospital…St James, New Bedford
Name ; Year of Birth ; Year of Ordination ; Diocese of Incardination ; Assignment History in the Diocese of Fall River
Carrier, George R. ; 1945 ; n/a ; n/a ; Cathedral Camp, East Freetown…St. Vincent de Paul Camp, Westport…St. Pius X, South Yarmouth
Corbin, Anthony Andre ; 1929 ; 1961 ; Diocese of Charlotte,North Carolina…Our Lady of the Assumption, Osterville…Our Lady Queen of All Saints Church Chapel, Mashpee…
Name ; Year of Birth ; Year of Ordination ; Diocese of Incardination ; Assignment History in the Diocese of Fall River ; Status
Gaudin, Rene ; 1927 ; 1957 ; Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.) ; St. Francis, Acushnet…Our Lady of Lourdes, Wellfleet…Deceased (2001)
Genevive, Frank ; 1956 ; 1983 ; Order of Friars Minor (O.F.M.) ; St. Margaret, Buzzards Bay ; Removed from ministry ; Deceased (2014)
Guarin, Angelo Michael ; 1970 ; 1998 ; Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate (F.F.I.) ; Our Lady's Chapel, New Bedford ; Faculties Revoked
McManus, Francis J. ; 1941 ; 1973 ; Society of Jesus (S.J.) ; Bishop Connolly High School, Fall River…St. James, New Bedford…St. Luke's Hospital, New Bedford ; Deceased (2015)
Mulryan, Thomas J. ; 1932 ; 1955 ; (perpetual profession of vows) ; Congregation of the Holy Cross (C.S.C.) Msgr. James Coyle High School, Taunton ; Dispensed from religious vows; Deceased (2009)
Nickel, James R. ; unknown ; 1970 ; Congregation of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary (SS.CC.) Holy Trinity, West Harwich ; Our Lady of the Annunciation, Dennisport…St. Mary, Fairhaven…Deceased (2008)
Powers, John A. ; 1925 ; 1952 ; Dominican Friars (O.P.) ; St. Patrick, Falmouth ; Removed from ministry ; Deceased (2010)