Tag: Robert Vaillancourt

Fr. Robert Vaillancourt – Diocese of Portland

Father Robert Vaillancourt

Diocese of Portland

Robert Vaillancourt Diocese of Portland Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1982

Placed on leave: 2021

Assignment History:

  • St. Thomas Aquinas (Madawaska, ME)
  • St. Andre (Biddeford, ME)
  • Director of Christian Life Center (Upper Frenchville, ME)
  • St. Peter Parish (East Millinocket, ME)
  • Holy Family (Old Town, ME)
  • St. John Vianney Parish (Fort Kent, ME)
  • St. Joseph (Bridgton, ME)
  • St. Matthew (Hamden, ME)
  • St. Gabriel (Winterport, ME)
  • Mount Pleasant (Bangor, ME)
  • St. Brendan the Navigator Parish (Camden, ME)
  • Our Lady of Good Hope (Camden, ME)
  • St. Bernard (Rockland, ME)
  • St. Francis Assisi (Belfast, ME)
  • St. Mary of the Isle Churches (Isleboro, Vinalhaven, and North Haven, ME)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Fr. Robert Vaillancourt:

Fr. Robert Vaillancourt was ordained a priest in 1982 in the Diocese of Portland. During his nearly 40-year career, Fr. Vaillancourt served several parishes in the Mid-Coast region of Maine. In 1988 he was named director of Diocese of Portland’s Youth Ministry Program. As director, he chaperoned more than 30 annual youth pilgrimages to St. Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec. He also supervised several delegations of teenagers and young adults during World Youth Day. As a World Youth Day chaperone, Fr. Vaillancourt frequently traveled with minors. In the summer of 2002, Fr. Vaillancourt led a group of 315 teenagers and young adults on trip to see Pope John Paul II in Toronto.

According to media reports, Fr. Robert Vaillancourt was placed on temporary administrative leave from his position as pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Parish in 2021 after the Diocese of Portland announced that it had received an allegation of sexual abuse in the 1980’s against Fr. Vaillancourt. The alleged victim was a minor female. Information regarding the nature of the alleged sexual abuse and Vaillancourt’s assignment at the time of the incident was not provided by the Diocese of Portland.

In September 2021, a woman filed a report with the Biddeford Police Department alleging that she was sexually assaulted when she was 15 years-old by Fr. Robert Vaillancourt. The alleged abuse took place in 1982 when Fr. Vaillancourt was assigned to St. Andre’s Catholic Church in Biddeford. According to the victim’s statement, Fr. Vaillancourt sexually abused her multiple times and eventually raped her. The alleged abuse occurred in the basement and rectory of the church.

After a yearlong investigation by Catholic Church officials regarding the two sexual assault allegations, Vaillancourt is being returned to active ministry. In July 2022, the Diocese of Portland announced that “the findings of the investigations, including contradictory evidence, determined the allegations were unfounded and could not have occurred.”

The communications director for SNAP stated, The “allegations against Fr. Vaillancourt still have us concerned. We know that false allegations of child sexual abuse are extremely rare, and we stand with these two women who stepped forward with courage.”

Vaillancourt’s new position has not been announced yet.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Portland in Maine. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maine, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Portland now have legal options, but filing deadlines may apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Maine and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

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.