NEW BEDFORD – A New Bedford priest accused of sexually abusing a minor has filed a libel swimsuit in opposition to the Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River.
Daniel Lacroix, 61, was placed on administrative depart for alleged misconduct in November 2019. On the time, he was co-pastor in three church buildings in North Finish – St. Joseph-St. Parishes of Thérèse, Sainte-Marie and Notre-Dame de Fatima.
A ministerial overview committee in November 2020 decided the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been credible and subsequently eliminated Lacroix completely from the ministry.
On February 29, Lacroix filed a lawsuit in search of redress from the Bishop of the Diocese of Fall River, Edgar M. da Cunha, who he stated had “considerably and irreparably” broken his status.
In line with a press launch from Lacroix’s lawyer, Philip Beauregard, the pastor faraway from his put up just isn’t asking for compensation for financial losses; fairly, he seeks justification and a declaratory judgment that he didn’t commit the alleged fault.
“My shopper has been viciously slandered, and his whole life and profession has been placed on maintain, all with none due course of,” Beauregard stated within the assertion. “Father Lacroix’s repeated appeals to the accused and to the diocese have been greeted with apathy and silence, and through this time he was denied his vocation, his livelihood and his status. This trial goals to offer him the chance to show his innocence within the face of those heinous accusations.
The Customary-Occasions contacted Beauregard for remark from Lacroix, however they didn’t reply.
Allegations of abuse within the Nineteen Nineties
In line with the diocese, the alleged misconduct got here to mild after the church carried out new reforms in 2017 that instituted an exterior overview course of.
“This outcomes from data gathered throughout an exterior overview of non-public information of the diocese,” stated a precedent declared press launch. “The knowledge pertains to alleged wrongdoing, which allegedly came about many years in the past, and which requires additional investigation.”
A closely redacted investigative report from the Bristol County District Legal professional’s Workplace, which the Customary-Occasions obtained in December 2020, signifies that the sufferer was born in 1970. Different dates within the report counsel Lacroix was 26 when the alleged abuse began, and was 32 or 33 years outdated on the time of the final incident. The sufferer was reportedly 15 years outdated at first of the alleged violence and 21 or 22 years outdated on the time of the final incident.
Beauregard beforehand informed The Customary-Occasions that Lacroix was performing as a camp counselor whereas he was in seminary and that the one who made the allegations was a camper.
Relating to any relationship between the 2, the lawyer stated it was nothing greater than that of a camp counselor and a camper.
Bristol County District Legal professional spokesman Gregg Miliote stated in an e mail when Lacroix was first dismissed that the district lawyer’s workplace obtained and “completely” reviewed the case, however that he was unable to put costs as a result of the statue of limitations had expired.
Lacroix sued for defamation
Within the three-page criticism, Lacroix claims defamation – the written type of defamation.
The criticism states that two investigations by da Cunha’s predecessor resulted in a waiver, and that Lacroix provided to take a lie detector take a look at, however that da Cunha “ignored” the provide.
He additionally states that in his communication with the media, da Cunha didn’t point out that Lacroix denies the allegations.
Within the final level, the criticism states that the Bishop of Fall River has “a bias and predisposition” to function a priest and bishop in New Jersey, the place he “had an affiliation” with a cardinal, Theodore McCarrick, who was finally fired for sexual misconduct.
Lacroix has denied the allegations since he was first placed on depart. He had beforehand informed The Customary-Occasions that he believed the misconduct allegations have been “presumably a case of mistaken id.”
An unredacted portion of the report means that Lacroix had identified the sufferer for a number of years and co-signed a mortgage for him.
Stunning eyes beforehand informed the Customary-Occasions that Lacroix’s greatest rationalization stays a mistaken id and that there was one other priest or seminarian who labored in the identical camp, “who has since been accused and convicted of sexual misconduct and distanced himself from the priesthood and of the area.
The lawyer didn’t title the priest and the Customary-Occasions couldn’t discover any references to the Saint-Vincent-de-Paul camp and the misconduct.
Da Cunha, contacted for remark by the Fall River Diocese communications workplace, didn’t reply immediately. As a substitute, the workplace offered an announcement, which partly reiterated earlier statements concerning their investigation.
The assertion stated the diocese “famous” that Lacroix denied the fees when he was laid off in 2019, and that da Cunha’s service in a New Jersey parish whereas McCarrick was archbishop was not not associated to this case.
“The title of Père Lacroix seems on the listing of monks accused of sexual abuse of a minor within the diocese of Fall River following a good and thorough examination of the allegations carried out by quite a few specialists,” the diocese assertion stated. .
In line with Beauregard, a bishop and a diocese below Massachusetts legislation can’t “usually” be held chargeable for the defamation of a priest. Nevertheless, he hopes the state “will grant some type of aid” to Lacroix, he wrote.
“Basically, the accused on this case is the decide, jury and executioner of Father Lacroix,” Beauregard wrote.
Lacroix is asking for a jury trial, in response to the document.