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Diocese substantiates abuse allegations against 2 priests

February 1, 2022 GMT

BANGOR, Maine (AP) — Complaints alleging that two priests sexually abused children in the 1950s and 1970s have been deemed credible by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland.

One of the complaints focused on Renald Hallee, who served in Bangor and Fort Kent, who’s accused of abusing a high school student in the 1970s, the Bangor Daily News reported. Hallee left the priesthood in 1977 and retired in 2007 as a school teacher in Massachusetts.

The other involved Eugene Descombes, who allegedly abused a minor in the mid-1950s during a trip to Canada. He died in 1980, the newspaper said.

Bishop Robert Deeley this month accepted the recommendation of a diocese review board that advises him on allegations of clergy sexual abuse against children. It recommended that he declare the allegations against Hallee and Descombes to be substantiated.

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A spokesperson for the diocese didn’t immediately respond Tuesday to a request for comment about the allegations. The Associated Press could not locate a phone number for Hallee.

The complaint against Hallee was not the first.

In 2010, a Portland woman accused him of sexually abusing her during his time at St. John’s Parish in Bangor, but the Maine Supreme Judicial Court ruled in 2012 that the lawsuit was outside the statute of limitations.

The woman settled her lawsuit and state lawmakers have since made it easier for abuse victims to sue for past crimes.

Hallee’s attorney who argued the case before the state supreme court didn’t immediately return an email message.