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Fr. Robert Vaillancourt Returned to Active Ministry in the Diocese of Portland

After the completion of a yearlong investigation, Fr. Robert Vaillancourt will be returned to active ministry, effective immediately. Two allegations of sexual abuse of minor girls in the 1980s were determined to be unfounded. Fr. Vaillancourt has not yet received a new assignment from the diocese.

In July of 2021, upon receipt of the first complaint and in accordance with diocesan policy, Fr. Vaillancourt was placed on administrative leave. The announcement of the administrative leave and investigation was distributed to all parishes in the diocese, publicized on the diocesan website and social media platforms, and issued to media outlets throughout the state, encouraging people to come forward with relevant information. Subsequently, a second allegation against Fr. Vaillancourt was received through an attorney representing a second woman. Civil authorities were notified of the allegations and state law enforcement conducted investigations over the past year.

Internal investigations were conducted by the Diocese of Portland’s Office of Professional Responsibility. In the course of these investigations, over 30 individuals were interviewed. In addition, extensive record and document checks were conducted. The findings of the investigations, including contradictory evidence, determined that the allegations were unfounded and could not have occurred.

Findings of the internal investigations were presented to the Diocese of Portland’s Review Board, an independent body comprised of respected business and community leaders in Maine who are selected for their demonstrated independence, fairness, and outstanding expertise in various fields, including psychiatry, law enforcement, and education. The Review Board unanimously agreed with the conclusions of the investigations. Bishop Robert Deeley accepted the decision of the Review Board and submitted the case to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican, which examined the investigative findings and conclusions and permitted the case to proceed to this conclusion.

The Diocese of Portland takes any allegation of child sexual abuse seriously and prioritizes protecting children and providing healing for victims of abuse. 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 [email protected].