Diocese of Fall River, priest reach settlement with victim of childhood sexual abuse

A file image of the Diocese of Fall River. (WLNE)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) — The Diocese of Fall River and a priest have reached a settlement with a victim of childhood sexual abuse.

A victim filed a lawsuit last July alleging that he was abused in the 1980s by Fall River priest Richard DeGagne.

The lawsuit says DeGagne was a priest at St. Anthony of Padua Parish in New Bedford for about five years. During that time, the victim was a student and an altar server.

The victim was also part of a Catholic youth group taught by DeGagne.

He claims the abuse took place in Massachusetts and DeGagne’s house in Maine when he was 12 and 13.

The lawsuit says the victim continues to suffer emotional and physical distress.

DeGagne was one of three Fall River priests who were denied their return to the ministry in 2021, when the diocese determined they were all “credibly accused.”

The settlement will be announced Tuesday, and is expected to be in the low-to-middle six figures.



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