Tag: Bishop Robert Deeley

Diocese of Portland Maine Sexual abuse

Diocese of Portland Issues Vague Statement About Sexual Abuse Investigation

Imagine you’re a church-going Catholic and as you sit in the pew before Mass begins, you read this in your parish bulletin:

Details for an upcoming listening session led by the Diocese about the recent developments in our parish will be announced at all Masses this weekend, July 10/11. Please continue to pray for all involved.

https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/25312/bulletins/20210711.pdf

“Recent developments??? What in the heck are they talking about?”

That may be the response of those who don’t follow the news or aren’t close to fellow parishioners. But many in this parish already know, thanks to the secular news media, that a Maine priest, Fr. Robert Vaillancourt, has been accused of sexual abusing a girl and has been put on leave.

https://d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net/25312/bulletins/20210711.pdf

But wouldn’t it have been a reassuring sign of ‘transparency’ had Maine Bishop Robert Deeley just come out and said that, plainly and clearly, instead of “recent developments?”

It’s hard to believe the church hierarchy is serious about addressing and preventing child sex crimes and cover ups if they can’t even bring themselves to use accurate terms to describe child sex crimes and cover ups.

And think of what Catholic officials might have written instead of those two short, vague sentences they put in the parish bulletin?

How about:

 If you have any information or suspicions about the new child sex abuse allegation that surfaced just last week about Fr. Vaillancourt, it’s your duty to call law enforcement and your moral duty to warn friends and neighbors. We’d also be grateful if you would contact the chancery.

Or:

If you want to be helpful, please discourage everyone from trying to figure out who the accuser is. At best, that serves no purpose. At worst, such speculation frightens other victims into keeping quiet, thinking “Therapists or cops say ‘If you report abuse, your privacy will be protected’ but that’s not really true.”

Or:

If you want your church and this community to be safer, please do NOT publicly rally around Fr. Vaillancourt. When this happens, others who abused by any adult and are still in pain feel even worse. And they may become too scared or depressed or hopeless and keep quiet instead of reporting their predator to law enforcement.

 

Instead, Maine Catholic officials chose, in this instance, to do what they’ve done for decades: the absolute bare minimum.

And instead of a ‘listening’ session, how about the church hierarchy has a ‘telling’ session, and explains to them how rare false allegations are, how they can best support their pastor without intimidating other victims, witnesses and whistleblowers, how they can bring up the painful subject of abuse with loved ones and gently nudge them to disclose their trauma. . .

Being vague and using euphemisms seem like a pattern in the Portland diocese. It’s internal division that looks into abuse reports is called the “Office of Professional Responsibility.”

And consider these sentences from the Portland diocese’s recent news release about this accused child molester:

—-“Public authorities have also been notified of the allegation.”

Why not tell parishioners and the public WHICH public authority, so if someone has information or suspicions about abuse, they’ll know which agency to call, instead of being ping ponged between any number of city or county police or sheriff’s departments until landing in the right place?

—-“No updates are offered during an active investigation.”

Really? That’s the official diocesan policy? Even if 25 more accusers come forward in the next few days? Or if Fr. Vaillancourt admits guilt? Or a long-hidden church document surfaces in which a previous bishop writes “We’ve now gotten our 12th abuse report involving the same priest, and to me, they all seem very credible.”

To us at Horowitz Law, this sounds like “Lay off of us. We’ll let you know whatever we want you to know whenever we want you to know it.” And to us, it seems like this practice – no updates, no matter what arises – sounds like it’s written purely for the benefit of church staff.

Please spread the word about Fr. Vaillancourt, especially if you know anyone who lives or lived in communities where he worked. According to the Portland diocese, Fr. Vaillancourt is currently the pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Parish (Our Lady of Good Hope Church, Camden; St. Bernard Church, Rockland; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Belfast; St. Mary of the Isles Churches on Islesboro, Vinalhaven and North Haven) and the St. Dismas Catholic Community at the Maine state prison.

And please also tell friends and family in Maine that soon a civil ‘window’ will open up, enabling people who were assaulted as kids to file civil lawsuits against those who committed and concealed child sex crimes.

Those lawsuits, we’re confident, will NOT mince words. Instead, they will plainly and clearly lay out just how awful it is to sexually violate a child. And they may help keep other children safe.

 

Bishop Robert Deeley sexual abuse

Terrific Chance for Justice for Sexual Abuse Survivors in Maine

Diocese of Portland Maine Catholic Bishop Robert Deeley is one of just a dozen or so U.S. prelates who steadfastly refuses to tell the public “Here’s who we educated, hired, trained, supervised, transferred and protected and are in fact child molesters.”

Maybe he didn’t want to post such names because he was afraid of abuse and cover up lawsuits if state officials suddenly gave victims more time to sue.

If that’s true, his nightmare has come true. Last week, the governor signed legislation lifting the civil statute of limitations on child sexual abuse.

This means that anyone who was abused at any time by anyone in Maine can now use the justice system to expose wrongdoers, seek justice, heal better and win compensation.

Because of that wise and compassionate move by state officials, we predict that the names of many of the child molesting clerics who were or are in Maine – and are still largely unknown throughout the state – will soon become known.

And we predict that Maine’s bishop will, in the weeks or months ahead, finally reveal a list of ‘credibly accused’ clerics, if only to help foster the impression that he’s ‘reforming.’ (“See, there’s no need to haul us into court. We’re finally coming clean about our predator priests.”)

If or when Bishop Deeley does indeed release a list of [proven, admitted or credibly accused offenders, we also predict it will be far from complete.

In fact, here are four pedophile priests who were or are in Maine that we predict he’ll leave OFF of his list:

 

(1)  Fr. Paul J. Doherty, who retired to York Maine in 2006 and became a board member of a non-profit (The University of Southern Maine Osher Lifelong Learning Institute)

He was put on leave in 2006 after admitting he had abused a child in Massachusetts.

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/news555/2017_12_00_OLLI_Newsletter_Profile_Paul.pdf

https://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2014/01_02/2014_01_26_Barnes_LancasterPriest.htm

http://www.telegram.com/article/20140126/NEWS/301269722/1116

 

(2)  Fr. Ronald H. Paquin, whose 2018 conviction on child sex charged in Maine was upheld just last year. (In 2002, he pled guilty to child rape in Massachusetts.)

Fr. Paquin was known to have sexually abused more than 40 boys.

In 2002, he admitted abusing a boy (starting at age 11 and ending around age 17) in Massachusetts, Canada, Maine, New Hampshire, Florida and Virginia. (according to documents in the Manchester NH diocese archives).

He worked in Cambridge, Milton, Chelsea, Lincoln, Methuen and Haverhill (all in Massachusetts).

http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Paquin_Ronald_H.htm

 

(3)  Fr. Robert. J. Knapp, who was first accused of child sexual abuse in 1985, had “a father-son” relationship with a child, perpetrated sexual misconduct on three women and was defrocked in 2010 while he was living in Maine.

He is now on the Boston archdiocese’ ‘credibly accused’ list.

http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Knapp_Robert_J.htm

 

(4) Fr. Harvey Lamonthe, against whom at least one abuse case was settled in 2002. He died in 1987 while in Maine.

http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Lamothe_Harvey.htm

Bishop Deeley clearly doesn’t want his flock or Maine citizens to know who his child molesting clerics are.

We at Horowitz Law feel quite differently. We’re convinced that kids will be safer and victims will be better when ALL the predatory priests in Maine are made public.

If you agree with us, we hope you’ll spread the word about these four offenders. And if you know of others who were or in Maine, we hope you’ll bring them to our attention.