Two Fall River Diocese priests placed on leave after external review

SE Mass

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Bishop Edgar da Cunha, S.D.V., says that two priests in the Fall River Diocese have been placed on administrative leave.

This comes as a result of information gathered during an external review of the Diocese’s personnel files, and it relates to alleged misconduct that happened decades ago and needs further investigation.

The priests placed on leave are Father Richard Degagne, pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Easton, and Father Daniel Lacroix, co-pastor of St. Joseph-St. Therese, St. Mary, and Our Lady of Fatima Parishes in New Bedford. Both will remain on leave pending further investigation by the Bristol County and Cape & Islands District Attorney’s Offices.

The two priests have denied the alleged misconduct.

Parishioners were informed in a letter from Bishop da Cunha that was read at all weekend Masses.

An external review of the Diocese’s priest personnel files was announced earlier this year. Bishop da Cunha has also overhauled practices and procedures to ensure safety in the Diocese, especially for children and young people, in addition to offering ways for people to heal in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis.

“Nothing is more important than the welfare of survivors, children and our community at large,” Bishop da Cunha said. “We have pledged to handle all matters of abuse in a pastoral and professional way and have implemented many new reforms since 2017. I continue to pray for anyone who has been affected by the scourge of sexual abuse.”

Anyone with information or concerns regarding any past or present member of the Diocese is asked to contact the Bristol County or Cape and Islands District Attorney’s Offices or the Diocese of Fall River’s Office of Safe Environment at (508) 985-6508 or by email at osechancery@dioc-fr.org.

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