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Woonsocket Priest Resigns With "Profound Remorse" For Sexual Misconduct

Former Cranston priest Rev. Monsignor John Allard is on leave, and the State Police have been notified of the allegation.

Update: Thirty years ago, Rev. Monsignor John Allard was assigned at Immaculate Conception in Cranston. Turnto10.com reports the priest has admitted to an improper relationship with a boy in 1981 at the church.

Rev. Monsignor John Allard of St. Agatha and Precious Blood Parishes has resigned after an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor more than 30 years ago. 

According to a release posted by The Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence on their website, the priest "has taken responsibility for his actions and has expressed his profound remorse for the harm he has caused."

WPRI.com, which has also reported on this story, has posted a photo of Msgr. Allard with their coverage.

Msgr. Allard has been placed on administrative leave, and his permission to serve as a priest has been revoked. He has moved out of the rectory and will reside at a private residence.

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin has appointed Rev. Wilfred Gregoire, a senior priest in residence at St. Agatha, temporary administrator of the parishes. 

The Diocese reports this is the first and only known allegation of abuse by Msgr. Allard and the Rhode Island State Police have been notified. “Allegations of abuse, even if they occurred many years ago, are taken very seriously and acted upon in accordance with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and diocesan policy,” said Tobin,  “For the many who are affected by this heartbreaking news, I offer my prayers for healing and forgiveness.”

Msgr. Allard was ordained a priest in September of 1975 and served the following assignments:  Immaculate Conception, Cranston, 1975-1984; St. Aloysius, Woonsocket, 1984-1986; Diocesan Office of Youth Ministry, 1984-1996 (with residence at St. Louis Parish, Woonsocket); Diocesan Office of Evangelization & Spirituality, 1986-2001; Our Lady of Good Help, Mapleville, 1986-1996; St. Agatha, Woonsocket, 1996-Present; Precious Blood, Woonsocket, 1996-Present; and Father Marot CYO Center, Woonsocket, 2006-Present.

The Diocese reports Tobin will meet with parish staff this week and visit the parish community in the near future to provide support.

The Diocese urges all victims of sexual abuse, or those with credible knowledge of such abuse, by any member of the Church to report the information to the Rhode Island State Police Major Crimes Unit 401/444-1000 or the Diocesan Office of Education and Compliance at 401/941-0760. 

Suzanne Arena February 26, 2013 at 06:46 PM
If only the Catholic Church hadn't been so intent on keeping the real estate so long ago when Catholic priests were married and died and the mother and children inherited the land. Church didn't like that and implemented this dedicated to only god now. The church has amassed an unimaginable wealth....can't they change? Other religious leaders do....so why do they continue after the "cats outta the bag" secrets have made them lose so many worshipers. I don't understand the mentality, knowing its not a normal request to bestow on someone. There's more to come, this we know....
la_mouffette February 28, 2013 at 08:16 PM
There's a lot more to it than that, Suzanne, even on the anthropological end-- it would've been easier to make changes that kept a priest from being able to personally own church property. Consider that, in the middle ages when the church had so much power, celibacy prevented the positions of priest, bishop, and cardinal from becoming inherited father-to-son seats of temporal power. Even centuries ago, the Pope elect was often a non-priest layman, he still had to be an unmarried man who agreed to remain so to become Pope. Celibacy has saved the church a huge amount of money. Donations that would have to be spent supporting wives and families instead get spent on things like food aid and medical care. The Catholic Church is far from perfect, but they spend vast amounts on charity work. They alone provide over 25% of the free AIDS relief services in the entire world. Does this mean it's a good idea to require celibacy? Not neccesarily. But the picture is much more complicated than what you're presenting. I'm also not sure we can blame child abuse on celibacy. After all, many pedophiles are married men. It's a complicated problem, that usually involves abusers who were abused themselves as kids. And when you come to a case like this one-- this priest was not accused of abusing a child, but a teenager when he himself was in his twenties-- you enter yet another category. It's a complicated picture that requires more thought than a knee-jerk reaction to fix.
la_mouffette February 28, 2013 at 08:33 PM
It's also worth adding that the Church *has* changed it's response to this tragedy. You'll notice that (unlike in the 80's) when a priest is accused these days, it's almost always for something that happened 25 or 30 years ago. When abuse victims bravely came forward, it finally forced the church to openly address this problem. Previously, the church was worried about scandal, and church authorities relied on advice from psychiatric professionals who (in the mid 20th century) believed pedophiles could be cured with therapy. It was mismanagment that allowed the problem to become so bad! But since the problem was finally exposed, big changes *have* been made. The church requires background checks for everyone, even CCD teachers and choir leaders, and NO adult is allowed to remain alone, one-on-one with any child. The changes are stringent and wise. Would allowing priests to marry also help? I don't know. I sympathize with young men who have to chose between a family life and serving God as a priest, and with older priests who struggle with living a celibate life. It must be very, very difficult. Who knows, maybe the church will revisit the issue and change their policy on it? But is pedophilia a typical response to that kind of stress? I don't think so. If you search the news, you'll find all kinds of people, many married, who have abused kids in their care. As I said before, this sad problem requires a lot of hard thinking.

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