PORTLAND---In accordance with diocesan policy, Fr. Robert Vaillancourt has been placed on temporary administrative leave pending an investigation into an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor girl in the 1980s. Fr. Vaillancourt is currently the pastor of St. Brendan the Navigator Parish (Our Lady of Good Hope Church, Camden; St. Bernard Church, Rockland; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Belfast; St. Mary of the Isles Churches on Islesboro, Vinalhaven and North Haven). Bishop Deeley has appointed Monsignor Paul Stefanko, who has been serving at the parish in recent months, as temporary administrator of the parish, effective immediately.
Fr. Vaillancourt has denied any wrongdoing and indicated that he will cooperate with any investigation into the matter. The temporary administrative leave is not a presumption of guilt or a result of suspected wrongdoing, but is the protocol followed by the diocese. It is for the purpose of preserving the integrity of the process. Public authorities have also been notified of the allegation.
An internal investigation conducted by the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Professional Responsibility is underway. The Office of Professional Responsibility formalizes the process of investigating complaints of various kinds that have been filed against members of the clergy, other employees, or volunteers of the diocese. An important element throughout the investigative process is the protection of the rights of both the individual making the accusation and the individual accused. No updates are offered during an active investigation.
Findings of the internal investigation will be presented to the Diocese of Portland’s Review Board, which is comprised of respected business and community leaders who are selected for their demonstrated independence, fairness, and outstanding expertise in various fields, including psychiatry, law enforcement, law, and education.
As always, Bishop Deeley encourages anyone who may have information about any case of sexual abuse of a minor by a Church representative to contact civil authorities and Michael Magalski, Director of the Office of Professional Responsibility for the Diocese of Portland, at (207) 321-7836 or at [email protected].