Diocese Places Woonsocket 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 Rev. Monsignor John Allard has resigned as pastor of St. Agatha and Precious Blood Parishes (both in Woonsocket) and has been placed on administrative leave as a result of a credible allegation of sexual misconduct of a minor that allegedly took place more than 30 years ago. Monsignor Allard has taken responsibility for his actions and has expressed his profound remorse for the harm he has caused.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has appointed Rev. Wilfred Gregoire, a senior priest in residence at St. Agatha, temporary administrator of the parishes.

According to the Diocesan Office of Education and Compliance, this is the first and only known allegation of abuse relative to Msgr. Allard and the Rhode Island State Police were notified of the allegation.  Due to the ongoing internal investigation, the Diocese is unable to offer additional comment at this time.

“Allegations of abuse, even if they occurred many years ago, are taken very seriously and acted upon in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and diocesan policy,” said Bishop Tobin.  “For the many who are affected by this heartbreaking news, I offer my prayers for healing and forgiveness.”

Msgr. Allard’s faculties, or permission to serve as a priest, have been revoked in accordance with the Charter.  He has vacated the rectory and will reside at a private residence.

Bishop Tobin will meet with parish staff this week and visit the parish community in the near future to provide spiritual and pastoral support.

Msgr. Allard was ordained a priest in September of 1975 and served the following assignments:  Immaculate Conception, Cranston, 1975-1984; St. Aloysius, Woonsocket, 1984-1986; Diocesan Office of Youth Ministry, 1984-1996 (with residence at St. Louis Parish, Woonsocket); Diocesan Office of Evangelization & Spirituality, 1986-2001; Our Lady of Good Help, Mapleville, 1986-1996; St. Agatha, Woonsocket, 1996-Present; Precious Blood, Woonsocket, 1996-Present; and Father Marot CYO Center, Woonsocket, 2006-Present.

The Diocese urges all victims of sexual abuse, or those 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.  The full content of the Charter and the Diocese’s safe environment policy may be accessed through a link found on every page of the Diocese’s website at www.dioceseofprovidence.org.

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(Note – There are two priests in the Diocese of Providence with the last name of Allard.  Also, Msgr. Allard is not to be confused with Rev. John E. Allard, O.P., an assistant professor of theology at Providence College. If possible, please use the full name of Msgr. John Allard when reporting this information.)

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