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CRIMINAL JUSTICE

A lawsuit against the former Bristol town official accused of raping a boy has been dismissed

Sexual abuse allegations against David E. Barboza caused other accusers to come forward

David E. Barboza waved to paradegoers during the 234th Fourth of July Celebration Parade in Bristol in 2019.
David E. Barboza waved to paradegoers during the 234th Fourth of July Celebration Parade in Bristol in 2019.Nic Antaya for The Boston Globe

BRISTOL, R.I. -- A lawsuit against a former prominent town official accused of raping a boy when he was a police officer in the 1970s has been dismissed.

David E. Barboza and his accuser, Robert Powers, agreed to dismiss Powers' lawsuit with prejudice, meaning it cannot be filed again on the same grounds. There was no further information about the terms of the dismissal, which was granted on Sept. 4.

Barboza’s lawyer, Fausto C. Anguilla of Providence, said Tuesday that “it was [dismissed] to the mutual satisfaction of everyone.”

Powers declined comment Wednesday, citing the advice of his lawyer, Andrew Tine, who did not respond to requests for comment. The lawsuit was also dismissed against the town of Bristol.

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Barboza, 65, had been a prominent town official, as a police officer, volunteer firefighter, fire marshal, and serving on multiple local boards and organizations. He even received Bristol’s highest honor: chief marshal of the Fourth of July Parade in 2014.

That esteem ended last summer, after a Globe investigation.

Powers filed a lawsuit in late 2018 accusing Barboza of raping him multiple times when he was a boy and Barboza was a Bristol police officer in the 1970s.

He was just one of several men accusing the former town official of sexual abuse. The Globe found that Barboza has been accused of sexual misconduct and assault of boys in Bristol during the 1970s and 1980s while he was a firefighter, an investigator for the state fire marshal’s office, and a police officer. The only time Barboza was arrested was in 1982, when he was charged with soliciting a 14-year-old boy from his fire marshal’s vehicle. The case was dismissed and never refiled.

After the Globe article, Barboza lost his positions with local organizations and resigned from his job as an administrative assistant at St. Mary’s Church. That’s when the Diocese of Providence acknowledged that it had also investigated complaints against Barboza less than a year after he was hired in 1997.

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A subsequent investigation by the Globe found that the Diocese of Providence and the parish priest at St. Mary’s, the Rev. Barry Gamache, had been warned about Barboza multiple times. Gamache admitted to the Globe that he believed Barboza over the alleged victims.

After the Globe article, a 45-year-old man on the autism spectrum told police that Barboza had made sexual remarks and opened his pants to look at his genitals when he sought assistance at St. Mary’s Church.

A judge granted the man a permanent restraining order, after the man testified that Barboza came to his house and threatened him for speaking to the police.


Amanda Milkovits can be reached at amanda.milkovits@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMilkovits.