BRISTOL, R.I. (WLNE) -- The normally-peaceful town of Bristol has been shaken to the core by sexual assault allegations against one of its most prominent citizens, David Barboza.

He served on Town Council, as a police officer, as a volunteer firefighter, and as the Chief Marshal of the 4th of July Parade in 2014 -- and now he’s accused of molesting young boys.

Robert Powers says Barboza sexually abused him when he was a child.

Now he and his wife live just down the street from Barboza.

"You’re only half a block from the person who molested you," said Powers, holding back tears. "Sorry, it’s not easy, but I’m not going to let him tear me down anymore.”

That’s why Powers and other demonstrators gathered in front of Barboza’s home -- to send a message.

"It’s not a witch hunt," said demonstration organizer Joseph Demelo. "It’s nothing negative. Our goal is to have a safe community, just like I want a safe community in every city and town in the state, in the country. The kids deserve that. Boys and girls have paid the price for predators, and it’s got to stop.”

It’s brought concerned citizens from beyond Bristol’s borders.

“If there’s enough people, that can equal the power of somebody in a high position," said Cass Michael of Cranston.

And with the governor signing new legislation extending the statute of limitations, Powers says he hopes to inspire other victims to come forward.

“It took me 44 years to get through this," he said. "And I hope that by me doing so, it will inspire you to do the same thing.”

We’re told the Diocese of Providence has removed Barboza from his administrative position at St. Mary’s Church.

State Police confirm they are working with Bristol police to investigate.



©WLNE-TV/ABC 6 2019