North Attleborough priests among Diocese’s list of credibly accused clergy

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St. Mary's on Church Street.

By Max Bowen-max.bowen@northstarreporter.com

The Fall River Diocese has published a list of 75 clergy who have been credibly or publicly accused of sexual abuse of a minor, among which are two who served in North Attleborough churches.

Armando Annunziato, who passed away in 1993 and served at St. Mary’s in North Attleborough, and Justin Quinn, who passed away in 1996 and served at Sacred Heart were among those included in the list, which was released on Jan. 7.

The list is the result of a review of internal records and files by Diocesan personnel and outside experts, in some cases going back 70 years. Of the 650 priests who have served as a Fall River Diocesan priest since the Diocese’s founding in 1904, a total of 44 have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor. Other individuals named on the credibly accused list were either members of a religious order or belonged to another diocese.

As I pray for a spirit of healing and reconciliation, I know that we cannot move on without an honest accounting of the past,” said Bishop da Cunha in a statement. “As your bishop, I am deeply and profoundly sorry for the abuse that was perpetrated by priests within this diocese and have recommitted myself to doing everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.”

Not included in the list is Father Richard E. Degagne, who served as the pastor at Sacred Heart Parish from 1994-2000. Degagne was placed on administrative leave in November 2019 from “active priestly ministry.” The alleged misconduct for which Degagne is accused of occurred before he became a priest.

The Diocese engaged the company of former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis to review the process. Access was provided to the files for accused clergy and religious, and other relevant information, for as far back as the Diocese had records. The company provided recommendations to Bishop da Cunha regarding names for publication.

We believe that the Diocese’s investigative and review process was thorough and balanced and was fair to those making an accusation as well as to the accused,” said Davis in the statement. “The publishing of this list is an essential step as the Diocese moves forward to promote accountability, transparency, and healing.”

To help victims, the Office of Safe Environment through its Victim Assistance Coordinator provides referrals for therapy, support for survivors, and a yearly Healing Mass to pray for all who have been impacted by sexual abuse.

I am committed to working with Bishop da Cunha to create a safe environment for children and to offering healing and reconciliation for survivors for whom these grievous acts have caused enormous pain, anger and confusion,” said Carolyn Shipp, a licensed social worker who is the Victim Assistance Coordinator for the Fall River Diocese.

Those who know of an incident of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest, deacon, employee, or volunteer should immediately call local authorities and then contact Victim Assistance Coordinator Shipp at 508-985-6508 or cshipp@dioc-fr.org.