PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A grand jury has handed up an indictment charging a former priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence with first-degree sexual assault, according to the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office.
Kevin Fisette, 66, is accused of sexually assaulting a juvenile male between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1982, in Burrillville. At the time of the incident, Fisette was a Deacon at Our Lady of Victory in Hopkinton and a Chaplain at Rhode Island Hospital.
Fisette was removed from ministry by the Diocese in August 2009 but has not been laicized, the AG’s office said. His last appointment was from 2004 through 2009 at St. Leo the Great Church in Pawtucket.
At the time, the state police told 12 News there was a credible allegation against Fisette, but they could not criminally charge the priest because the statute of limitations had expired. It is unclear if the indictment against Fisette is the same allegation that was not prosecuted in 2009.
Fisette is expected to be arraigned on Wednesday.
The AG’s office has been conducting a review of clergy child sexual abuse in the Diocese of Providence.
Three other former priests have been indicted since the state’s review began. Former priests John Petrocelli and James Silva were charged with multiple counts of child molestation. Edward Kelley, a former Smithfield priest, was found by a court to be “incompetent to stand trial” in February 2022 after he was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault.
“Our broad investigation of clergy child sexual abuse in Rhode Island has had, from its inception, two principal purposes: to prepare a comprehensive report of our findings regarding such abuse and the Diocese’s response to it, and along the way bringing individual criminal cases as they are developed, where the facts as alleged warrant them,” AG Peter Neronha said.
The Diocese of Providence said in a statement Monday they have cooperated with the state’s investigation and are working closely with law enforcement.
According to the Diocese of Providence, there are 15 living credibly accused members of the clergy.
Anyone who knows of, suspects, or has been a victim of sexual abuse at the hands of a church employee or volunteer is encouraged to contact the Office of Compliance at (401) 941-0760 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or R.I. State Police at (401) 444-1000 or the Attorney General’s Office at (401) 274-4400.
Tim White contributed to this report