Former Rhode Island Priest Charged with Abuse of a Minor
(For Immediate Release June 7, 2022)
A Rhode Island Roman Catholic priest, who was removed from ministry in 2009, has been indicted on a charge of sexually assaulting a male teenager more than 40 years ago. Fr. Kevin Fisette is scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday for first-degree sexual assault.
In 2019, the Diocese of Providence released a list of 50 clerics, religious order priests, and deacons it deemed "credibly accused" of the sexual abuse of children, including Fr. Fisette. Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha opened a review of those accusations that same year after the Diocese agreed to give the Attorney General and the Rhode Island State Police access to all complaints since 1950.
Fr. Fisette is currently living in Killingly, Connecticut. He worked for the Diocese at Our Lady of Victory Church, Ashaway, in 1981; Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, 1981-1982; St. Mary Church, Cranston, 1982-1985; St. Catherine of Siena Church, Warwick, 1985-1990; Our Lady of Providence Preparatory Seminary High School, Providence, 1987-1988; St. James Church, West Warwick, 1990-1993; Bishop Hendricken High School, Warwick, 1989-1997; Pawtuxet Valley CYO, Warwick, 1990-1993; SS. Peter & Paul Church, West Warwick, 1993-1997; Holy Name of Jesus Church, Providence, 1997-2004; Father Barry CYO Center, Pawtucket, 1998-1999; St. Leo the Great Church, Pawtucket, 2004-2009.
The priest is being charged with abusing a child in Burrillville between Jan. 1, 1981, and Dec. 31, 1982, when he was working as a deacon at Our Lady of Victory Parish in Ashaway and as a chaplain at Rhode Island Hospital. There was an earlier accusation of sexual abuse from the 1980s that a Diocesan investigation deemed "credible," which resulted in Fr. Fisette's removal from ministry in 2009. Authorities declined to prosecute Fr. Fisette at that time, citing the statute of limitations for second and third-degree sexual assault, and inconsistencies in the victim's statements. But there is no statute of limitations for first-degree sexual assault.
Despite being removed from ministry in 2009, Fr. Fisette visited schools and worked in the presence of children after he got a job at Goodwill.
Fr. Fisette is the fourth cleric to be indicted as part of the Attorney General's review of the Diocese. To us, this speaks volumes about the importance of secular investigations and sheds additional light on the glaring problem of clergy sexual abuse, particularly in a heavily Catholic state like Rhode Island. Law enforcement probes into Diocesan investigations not only protect Catholic children, but also the public.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)