Diocese Places Warwick Priest on Administrative Leave

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(PROVIDENCE, R.I.)- In accordance with The Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and diocesan policy, the Diocese of Providence today announced that Father Barry Meehan has resigned as pastor of St. Timothy’s Parish, Warwick and placed on administrative leave as a result of a credible allegation of sexual misconduct that allegedly took place more than 25 years ago.  Father Meehan has denied any improper activity.

Upon recently receiving the allegation, The diocese immediately reported the information to The Rhode Island State Police.  Simultaneously, Diocesan officials launched an investigation that concluded the allegation was of a credible nature.

“This unfortunate news is very distressing, however, The Diocese of Providence takes very seriously and will act upon credible allegations of abuse,” said The Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence.  “This is a very difficult time for the victim of the alleged abuse and his family, for Fr. Meehan and his family and friends and for the people of St. Timothy’s Parish.  I would like to offer my prayers and support to all who are affected by this news.”

Auxiliary Bishop Robert Evans shared this information with St. Timothy’s parishioners at Masses yesterday and today.  Bishop Tobin has met with parish leaders and will make a visit to the parish in the near future to provide parishioners spiritual and pastoral support.  The Bishop has appointed Rev. Francis O’Hara as a temporary administrator to care for the parish.

Placed on administrative leave, Father Meehan’s faculties, or permission to serve as a priest, have been removed in accordance with the charter.  The full content of the charter may be accessed through a link found on every page of the Diocese of Providence’s website at www.dioceseofprovidence.org.

Father Meehan was ordained to the priesthood on June 10, 1978 and served the following assignments: Saints Peter & Paul, West Warwick 1978-1980; St. Mary, Cranston 1980-1991; St. Augustine, Providence 1991-1996; St. John the Baptist and St. James, West Warwick 1996-2002. He was appointed pastor of St. Timothy in 2002.

The Diocese urges anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse, or with credible knowledge of such abuse, by any member of the Church to report the information to The Rhode Island State Police Major Crimes Unit 401/444-1000 or the Diocesan Office of Education and Compliance at 401/941-0760.

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