Former Rhode Island priest indicted on sex abuse charge
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A former Roman Catholic priest who served at several Rhode Island parishes has been indicted on a charge of sexually assaulting a juvenile about 40 years ago, the state attorney general’s office said Monday.
Kevin Fisette, 66, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday on a charge of first-degree sexual assault, authorities said.
The alleged assault on a boy occurred in Burrillville between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1982 when Fisette was serving as a deacon at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Hopkinton and as a chaplain at Rhode Island Hospital, officials said.
Fisette, who currently lives in Killingly, Connecticut, was ordained in November 1981.
A message was left with Fisette’s attorney.
He is already on the Diocese of Providence’s list of clergy credibly accused of abuse and was removed from ministry in 2009, which means he cannot act as a priest or present himself as one.
The diocese in a statement said it has cooperated with authorities.
He was removed from ministry after someone contacted the diocese with an allegation of sexual abuse dating to the 1980s that a diocesan investigation deemed credible, the diocese said.
Authorities declined to prosecute Fisette at that time, citing the statute of limitations for second-and third-degree sexual assault, and inconsistencies in the complainant’s statements. But a spokesperson for the attorney general said there is no statute of limitations for first-degree sexual assault.
Attorney General Peter Neronha in 2019 opened a review of allegations of sexual abuse in the diocese shortly after the diocese released a list of 50 clerics, religious order priests and deacons it deemed to have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children, dating to 1950.
The diocese voluntarily agreed to give the attorney general and the Rhode Island State Police access to all complaints since 1950.
Rhode Island is one of the most heavily Catholic U.S. states.
Fisette is the fourth former priest to be indicted as part of the latest review.
“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,” Neronha said in a statement.
The investigation remains ongoing, he said.