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North Attleborough priest placed on administrative leave amid investigation

A North Attleborough priest was placed on administrative leave last week amid an investigation into alleged misconduct, according to a statement from the Diocese of Fall River.

Reverend Rodney E. Thibault, pastor of Transfiguration of the Lord Parish and director of St. Mary–Sacred Heart School, was placed on leave by the bishop of the Fall River Diocese.

Thibault is being investigated for “alleged misconduct that is inconsistent with standards of ministerial behavior and in direct violation of the Code of Conduct for priests in the Diocese of Fall River,” said the statement, which was dated Aug. 7.

The alleged misconduct does not involve a minor, the statement said. No other details about the investigation were released.


Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha acknowledged the “distressing turn of events” in his communication to the parish that was read at masses on Saturday and Sunday, the diocese said.

Thibault was assigned to North Attleborough in 2019 as pastor of the town’s three former parishes — Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Sacred Heart, and Saint Mark — before they were merged to form Transfiguration of the Lord in January 2020, according to the diocese.

While on leave, Thibault will not be allowed to exercise public ministry nor present himself as a priest in public, the diocese said.

Reverend Michael Ciryak, who was appointed parochial vicar of two New Bedford churches in 2021, will serve as temporary administrator of the parish.

St. Mary–Sacred Heart School, where Thibault was director, currently has 225 students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, according to the school’s website.

Daniel S. Roy, superintendent of schools at the Diocese of Fall River, sent a letter to parents of students at St. Mary–Sacred Heart announcing Thibault’s leave, and saying that the Catholic Schools Office of the diocese will assist the new principal, Lisa Serak, in preparing for the school year.


“I understand that this announcement is distressing for you,” Roy said in the letter, dated Aug. 7. “Father Thibault has served the school community since coming to North Attleboro in 2019 and has been a strong presence. At this time, please keep him and all involved in this matter in your prayers.”

The letter was obtained by Boston attorney Mitchell Garabedian and sent to The Globe on Friday morning.

There is no police investigation into Thibault by the North Attleborough Police Department, Capt. Jason Roy said in an email Friday.

He referred further questions to the Fall River Diocese.

Bailey Allen can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @baileyaallen.