81-year-old Former RI Priest Charged with 11 Counts of Child Molestation

The Rhode Island Attorney General's Office said this is the second time the former priest has faced a child molestation charge.

Providence, RI (WLNE) – The Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office announced Tuesday that an elderly former priest faces multiple counts of child molestation.

81-year-old James Silva was indicted on two counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation.

The attorney general’s office said the crimes involved a boy under the age of 14 and happened between 1989 and 1990. The indictment says, at the time, Silva was serving as Interim Director and Assistant Director at the Office of Ministerial Formation within the Diocese of Providence. Silva held those roles from 1986 – 1991.  He was laicized form the church in 1993.

Silva appeared before a judge on Monday. His bail was set at $50,000 with surety. As conditions of that bail, Silva cannot contact the alleged victim and he cannot contact anyone under the age of 18. As of Tuesday morning, Silva had not made bail and remained in custody.

This is the second time Silva has faced a child molestation charge. Back in 1995, he pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree assault. For that crime, he received a seven-year suspended sentence with probation.

The Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office said this is the third indictment to stem from their review of child sexual abuse accusations involving clergy. In November 2020, former Woonsocket priest John Petrocelli was indicted on multiple counts of child molestation. In May 2021, former Smithfield priest Edward Kelley was indicted on multiple counts of sexual assault.

The attorney general’s office said it continues to review cases.

Read past coverage of the case of John Petrocelli here: https://www.abc6.com/former-woonsocket-priest-charged-with-multiple-counts-of-child-molestation/

Categories: News, Providence, Regional News, Rhode Island