PROVIDENCE — A priest in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Providence was indicted late last month on charges of sexually abusing a boy in the early 1980s, the state attorney general announced Monday.
Kevin Fisette, 66, who lives in Dayville, Conn., was indicted on one count of first-degree sexual assault. He’s set to be arraigned Wednesday in Providence County Superior Court, according to Attorney General Peter Neronha.
Fisette was one of the names included on the Diocese of Providence’s list of credibly accused clergy in 2019. He had been removed from ministry and resigned from his post as pastor of St. Leo the Great Church in Pawtucket in 2009 but never removed from the priesthood. His inclusion on the list sparked questions about the job he got after being removed from ministry at Goodwill in Rhode Island, which involved visits to schools and working in the presence of children.
The allegation against Fisette already had been made public before Goodwill hired him. Goodwill of Southern New England fired him after his inclusion on the diocese’s list of credibly accused clergy.
The alleged assault took place in Burrillville sometime between January 1981 and December 1982, Neronha said. Fisette was ordained as a priest on Nov. 21, 1981. The attorney general said at the time of the alleged assault, Fisette was appointed as a deacon in Our Lady of Victory Parish in Hopkinton and as a chaplain at Rhode Island Hospital.
Fisette is the fourth priest to be charged in relation to Neronha’s ongoing review of decades worth of diocesan records. Neronha’s office is preparing a report, while also searching for cases that could still be charged.
“Our investigation remains active and ongoing. I am grateful to the Rhode Island State Police for their partnership throughout the investigation,” Neronha said in a written statement.
The Diocese of Providence said in a written statement it first alerted authorities in 2009 when it was approached by a person about alleged sexual abuse in the 1980s.
“From the start, the diocese informed, cooperated with, and worked closely with Rhode Island State Police and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office, proactively and promptly sharing the complaint and all relevant information and files,” the diocese said in an e-mail. “This included full cooperation with the State Police, requesting they expedite their investigation due to Kevin Fisette’s status as a pastor, and following RISP’s written directive not to confront Fisette until their investigation was exhausted.”
State authorities had previously declined to prosecute the case. Under a Neronha predecessor, the attorney general’s office cited the statute of limitations for second- and third-degree sexual assault, which had run out, as well as “inconsistencies” in the accuser’s recollection of events. But the state police had deemed the allegation credible in 2009, as did the diocese in 2009 and again in 2019.
The statute of limitations for first-degree sexual assault, the charge Fisette now faces, has not run out.
A full listing of Fisette’s assignments is available on the diocese’s website.
The diocese emphasizes that Kevin Fisette has no relation to the Rev. Carl Fisette, an active priest in good standing in the diocese.