2003 Catching up With. . . - Rev. Hernando Herrera

By Michael P. McKinney
Providence Journal-Bulletin (Rhode Island)
December 26, 2003

A priest from a Seekonk parish who has been accused of "inappropriate conduct with two minors" remains on administrative leave while the Bristol County district attorney's office reviews the case.

A state Department of Social Services investigation did not find enough evidence to support the allegations against the Rev. Hernando Herrera, which have not been detailed. Before being put on leave, Herrera was a priest and youth minister at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Seekonk since 1999.

A unit of the district attorney's office is currently reviewing the information from DSS. When the review is complete, the district attorney's office will decide whether to file charges, said Joe DeMedeiros, a spokesman for the district attorney. There is no deadline to complete the review.

John Kearns, a Diocese of Fall River spokesman, said that after the district attorney review is finished, the diocese review board will also investigate the accusations.

In the days after it was announced that Herrera was on leave, some parishioners expressed strong support for him and offered doubt that the allegations were true.

A spokeswoman for DSS has said that a major reason Social Services investigators were unable to make a case against Herrera was that he was not in a "caretaker" role during the alleged incidents. A caretaker is a controlling adult in a situation, such as a baby-sitter or Scout leader, who is charged with a child's well-being.


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