Mar 17, 1994

Sex abuse suits filed in R.I. against priests, bishops

PROVIDENCE, R.I., March 17 (UPI) -- Civil suits were filed Thursday in Rhode Island charging four Roman Catholic priests with sex crimes and three bishops with failing to prevent the abuses.

The allegations accuse the priests of molesting four boys and one girl in the diocese of Providence between 1967 and 1991, and allege the bishops, while serving in the diocese, knew of the misconduct and did nothing about it.

Accused of sexual molestation are priests Robert A. Marcantonio, Alfred R. Desrosiers, William C. O'Connell, and James M. Silva.

Also named in the complaint are the current bishop of the diocese, Louis E. Gelineau; former Providence bishop Daniel P. Reilly; and one- time auxiliary bishop Kenneth A. Angell. Angell is now bishop of the diocese of Vermont and Reilly is bishop of Norwich, Conn.

There was no immediate comment from the Providence diocese about the suits.

Richard A. Capalli of Woonsocket, a lawyer representing the alleged victims, said he is requesting a jury trial for the plaintiffs.

One of the alleged victims, Robert J. Crowley, 23, of Narragansett, R.I., spoke publicly for the first time about the abuse he says occurred when he was 12 years old.

Russell R. Cote, 20, of Burrillville, alleges Silva molested him in 1991;

David R. Wood, 36, of Little Compton, claims Silva molested him in 1973 and 1974;

Angelo Almonte III, 39, of Providence, said Marcantonio sexually abused him from 1967 through 1969; and

Anita R. Guilbault, 35, of Woonsocket, alleges Desrosiers sexually assaulted her from 1975 through 1976.

(written by David Haskell in Boston)