Fall River Diocese removes priest, says sexual abuse allegations proven credible

The Diocese of Fall River said a priest has been permanently removed from the ministry after allegations of abuse were proven to be credible.

Bishop Edgar da Cunha said in a statement Fr. Daniel Lacroix was put on administrative leave in November 2019, pending the result of an investigation of sexual abuse allegations to minors.

Lacroix previously served as a pastor of St. Mary Parish since 2017, and a co-pastor of a newly-formed parish collaborative in New Bedford’s north end that included the parishes of Our Lady of Fatima and St. Joseph-St. Therese and St. Mary’s.

“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,” said da Cunha in a letter he read to parishioners during a weekend Mass.

Da Cunha said based upon his own review of the evidence and the work of the review board, he accepted the recommendations and met with Lacroix to inform him of the decision.

He said the Ministerial Review Board hired an outside investigator to look into the allegations against Lacroix.

According to da Cunha, the allegations occurred decades ago.

“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,” the Diocese of Fall River said in a statement. “In accord with diocesan policies, all allegations have been reported to civil authorities for their review.”

Da Cunha concluded his letter by asking for prayers “for all involved, most especially for survivors of abuse.”

NBC 10 News spoke with Lacroix who said he denies all of the allegations against him.

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