Bangor woman shares story of abuse from former Catholic priest

WPOR [Portland ME]

April 16, 2023


A Bangor woman wants to warn others of the abuse she endured from former Catholic priest Anthony Cipolle, who was a Reverend at St. John’s in Bangor from 2017 until 2020.

Melissa Kearns, who shared her story with the Portland Press Herald, claims Cipolle sexually, emotionally and psychologically abused her in 2018. The Press Herald says it reviewed numerous texts and emails between Cipolle and Kearns that support her claims.

Cipolle was expelled from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland in 2020 after a Maine judge accused Cipolle of “inflaming” a situation that led to the murder of Renee Henneberry Clark in 2018, who he was a spiritual adviser for.

According to the Portland Press Herald, Cipolle had gotten into a fight with Clark’s brother-in-law, who shot Clark 10 times hours later.

Kearns met Cipolle after the Clark’s murder, but she says the incident had been painted as a tragedy he had tried to stop, not one he had caused.

Cipolle is not barred from priesthood outside of Maine and is now a resident chaplain at Vanderbilt University medical center. Kearns says she decided to share her story because she worries he is still capable of abusing his power and hopes the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland will warn other dioceses about him.

Kearns reached a settlement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland for an undisclosed amount in 2022, but she says she never received public acknowledgement of her experience.

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