October 22, 2021

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The Law & Legal Community

A R.I. priest was billed with sexual assault, but the scenario remains in limbo

An arraignment is wherever somebody is formally notified of the expenses against them in court docket, and in which they can enter a plea. Prosecutors can’t publicly disclose aspects of the situation in opposition to Kelley right until just after he’s been arraigned, although a indictment — with the phrase General public written across the top rated in huge kind — was submitted in court docket documents, indicating that Kelley is accused of sexual assault by pressure or coercion.

A decide has requested Kelley to undergo a competency evaluation, to make positive he’s able to realize the proceedings from him and aid in his own defense. The analysis was set to acquire location at the state-run Eleanor Slater Hospital, which has amenities for people included in the criminal justice process, according to courtroom records, and was shown as remaining held there with out bail. Courtroom documents say the competency report has been concluded, but no choice about competence has been produced.

So much, the process has been stored out of the community eye.

A court date on July 16 just before Superior Courtroom Decide Joseph A. Montalbano was held in the judge’s chambers, that means not in general public, and some documents have been seemingly submitted but sealed. The court docket records that are publicly obtainable do not say why the decide suspected Kelley may possibly not be knowledgeable to stand trial. One more courtroom day is scheduled for up coming thirty day period.

Kelley’s law firm, Kara Hoopis Manosh, declined to comment just after the courtroom hearing on July 16. The attorney general’s business declined to comment simply because it is an ongoing situation that has not attained the arraignment stage.

But Timothy Conlon, the attorney who represents priest abuse victims in Rhode Island, mentioned in reaction to inquiries from the Globe that he represents a sufferer of Kelley referenced in the indictment. His customer was a boy at the time the abuse took location, Conlon mentioned. A lawsuit has not been filed yet.

“I can verify that this specific contacted me some time ago, and as our country dealt with COVID, these allegations labored their way by means of the correct felony approach,” Conlon reported in a assertion to the World. “My client stories residing with Kelley in Rectories at two parishes right here in Rhode Island throughout the ‘80s. Despite the fact that this apply was documented to the Hierarchy of the Diocese at the time, Kelley persisted in maintaining a connection with the boy, which bundled the boy residing in Diocesan quarters with Kelley right after that carry out had been claimed.”

Conlon also stated his client documented that Kelley had been underneath investigation in the previous regulation enforcement was wanting for his customer following a different male who had been shut with Kelley as a kid died by suicide.

“My customer was devastated to recognize that a person he realized as a youngster may possibly also have been victimized, but he was not emotionally or psychologically capable of having motion at that time,” Conlon claimed.

Conlon also criticized the Diocese of Providence for not still which includes Kelley’s title on the listing of credibly accused priests.

“As the publicly readily available charging document shows, 12 unbiased associates of a grand jury regarded as these allegations credible, which raises considerations with a Diocesan checklist that omits a former priest who is less than arrest and detained on this kind of expenses,” Conlon claimed.

Kelley was ordained as a Rhode Island priest in 1968. A entire listing of Kelley’s assignments was not accessible, but according to The Providence Journal archives he had assignments at St. Aidan in Cumberland, St. Agatha in Woonsocket, Our Lady of Consolation in Pawtucket and St. John the Evangelist in North Smithfield in the 1980s and 1990s.

In 1992, Kelley resigned following only five months at St. Aidan parish in Cumberland at the request of then-Bishop Louis Gelineau, in accordance to a tale in The Journal at the time. The diocese reportedly explained “a divisiveness had developed in the parish since of the priest’s management design and style.”

He moved out of Rhode Island in 1993, according to the Diocese of Providence, and afterwards served as an lively-obligation U.S. Army chaplain.

In 2015, Kelley, then retired, was eliminated from ministry. The Diocese of Providence introduced it publicly at the time, and a limited product appeared in the Rhode Island Catholic, but it did not explain the situations beyond declaring the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina, informed the Providence diocese about “concerns.”

All those problems can now be unveiled: He was “engaging in a partnership with an grownup woman not in keeping with a state of daily life suitable for a priest,” Maria Aselage, the Diocese of Charleston’s spokeswoman, explained in an e mail this thirty day period.

Kelley’s colleges to serve as a priest have been revoked in both the Charleston and Providence dioceses. Eliminating colleges is short of defrocking a priest, but it suggests they no lengthier have the necessary permission to functionality as a priest.

Michael Kieloch, a spokesman for the Diocese of Providence, verified that the Edward Kelley who was arrested in South Carolina previously this yr is the similar Edward Kelley who was eradicated from ministry in 2015. But the diocese has not been formally notified about it by prosecutors.

“We of course just take all allegations of abuse critically,” Kieloch claimed. “We operate closely with legislation enforcement. We constantly have.”

Kelley’s name was not bundled in the diocese’s record of clergy credibly accused of abusing children Kieloch claimed it would be additional if and when a credible allegation gets to be general public. But, Kieloch said, another person remaining the diocese’s compliance office a voicemail in 2019 with a grievance about Kelley. They attempted to follow up, but weren’t successful. They instantly forwarded that info to legislation enforcement, Kieloch reported.

The business of Legal professional Basic Peter Neronha is at the moment reviewing many years of diocesan documents under an agreement with church leaders in planning for a report about the sexual abuse of minors by clergy. The report will scrutinize what church leaders knew and did about the abuse, when also striving to come across viable felony situations to carry.

A further Rhode Island priest, John Petrocelli, was arrested in November 2020 on expenses of sexually abusing 3 boys decades in the past. Petrocelli pleaded not guilty and was introduced on bail.


Brian Amaral can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @bamaral44.