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New Bedford priest accused of sexually abusing boy in Massachusetts and Maine

“Despite the constant rhetoric from church officials that the sexual abuse scandal is a thing of the past, this recent case tells us it is very much a thing of the present and the future.”


NEW BEDFORD, Mass. — A former altar boy and student at St. Anthony of Padua School is accusing a former priest of sexually abusing him in the rectory, in his car, and during an overnight trip to Maine more than 30 years ago.

The Diocese of Fall River had barred the Rev. Richard E. Degagne from the ministry in February and added his name to the list of clergy who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of children. Now, an Acushnet man is alleging that Degagne had molested him repeatedly when he was 12 and 13 years old in 1988 and 1989.

In a lawsuit filed in Bristol County Superior Court in late July, Jason Medeiros said that the abuse caused him severe emotional distress, anger, depression, drug and alcohol abuse, and attempted suicide. His lawyer, Mitchell Garabedian, said in a statement that the civil complaint “indicates the moral failure of Bishop Daniel A. Cronin, who was Bishop at the time of the alleged sexual abuse, and the Diocese of Fall River to protect an innocent child.”

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