Former Woonsocket priest charged with multiple counts of child molestation
PROVIDENCE. R.I. (WLNE)– A former Woonsocket priest has been charged with three counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of second-degree child molestation, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha announced today.
A grand jury returned an indictment Monday against John Petrocelli, stemming from incidents alleged to occur when he was assistant pastor at Holy Family Parish in Woonsocket between 1981 and 1990, Neronha said.
The indictment alleges Petrocelli molested three males during that time, all of whom were under the age of 14.
The indictment was unsealed and Petrocelli was arraigned in Superior Court this afternoon, Neronha said.
The attorney general said a review of records from the the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence containing allegations of abuse, and how the diocese handled them, remains ongoing.
“There is nothing more critical to the mission of my office than to deliver justice on behalf of victims and of the people of Rhode Island, regardless of the time that has passed after the alleged offense,” Neronha said. “Our ongoing review of alleged misconduct by clergy in Rhode Island is intended to achieve that result wherever possible.”