Sunday, November 13, 2005


Providence diocese bars accused priest from celebrating Mass

PROVIDENCE, R.I. --The Diocese of Providence has ordered a priest accused of sexually abusing his two young cousins to stop celebrating Mass.

Louis Diogo had been celebrating Mass at St. Francis Xavier Church in East Providence for several years, but the diocese was not aware of it, Monsignor Paul Theroux said.

Diogo retired and moved out of state in 1993, after his cousin Ana Farias told the diocese that he had abused her and her sister in the 1950s and 1960s.

The statute of limitations had run out by the time Farias came forward, and Diogo was never charged criminally. He has denied the accusation, but Theroux said the diocese found Farias credible.

Farias contacted the diocese recently after learning from another cousin that Diogo, now 85, had returned to Rhode Island and was celebrating Mass again. Farias, 58, said she was abused from age 5 through her teens.

"I can't be around a priest," she told NBC affiliate WJAR. "I haven't gone to church for years. I've lost my faith. Sometimes, I think he got my innocence so badly that he got my soul."

Theroux said the diocese has told Diogo that he cannot celebrate Mass or function publicly as a priest.

See also, the never-ending chronicle of church-related crime.

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