Fall River diocese removes priest after abuse allegations prove to be credible

La Croix Background

FALL RIVER, Mass. (WLNE) – New Bedford priest, Father Daniel Lacroix was placed on administrative leave pending an investigation of allegations regarding sexual abuse of minors last November.

This Saturday, the Diocese of Fall River Bishop Edgar da Cunha announced that Lacroix has been permanently removed from the ministry after those allegations were determined to be credible.

Lacroix had been serving as pastor of St. Mary Parish since 2017, before being appointed as co-pastor of a newly-formed parish collaborative in 2019.  These parishes included St. Mary’s, Our Lady Fatima and St. Joseph-St. Therese.

In a letter to the parish community, Bishop da Cunha announced that Lacroix would be removed from the ministry. “It is with sadness that I write today to inform you that the Review Board has determined the allegations to be credible, and has recommended to me that Father Lacroix be removed permanently from priestly ministry because of conduct that is inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior and in direct violation of the Code of Conduct for priests in the Fall River Diocese and the U.S. Bishops’ Charter for The Protection of Children and Young People.”

Da Cunha explained that after his own review of evidence and the work of the review board, he accepted the recommendation and met with Father Lacroix to inform him of the decision.

Bishop da Cunha acknowledged “how troubling this matter has been for the parishes here in the Catholic Community of New Bedford North where he had been serving, and this announcement will surely add to that.” Bishop da Cunha also offered the assistance of a diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator to help support the church community.

According to the Diocese of Fall River, the incidents happened decades ago.  In a statement, the diocese said “The decision for their further investigation followed an external review of all priestly personnel files in the Diocese and the receipt of additional information recently brought to the attention of the Diocese. In accord with diocesan policies, all allegations have been reported to civil authorities for their review.”

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2020

Categories: Fall River, Massachusetts, News, Regional News