As investigation of priest continues, others temporarily assigned to Fort Kent area parish

Posted July 31, 2012, at 1:23 p.m.
Last modified July 31, 2012, at 4:54 p.m.
Rev. James L. Nadeau
Rev. James L. Nadeau

FORT KENT, Maine — As the Maine attorney general’s investigation into unspecified allegations against a Roman Catholic priest continues, the diocese has announced temporary assignments at the St. John Vianney Parish.

The parish, based in Fort Kent, has been without spiritual leader the Rev. James Nadeau since the 50-year-old pastor took a voluntary leave of absence in early April.

“The diocese is cooperating fully with the attorney general’s office and at their request I cannot discuss the allegations or anything about the investigation,” Bishop Richard Malone said at the time. “I am hopeful that this process will go smoothly in order to lead to an expeditious and just conclusion.”

Officials with the attorney general’s office and from the diocese have released little information on the investigation over the past several months.

Nadeau, who had been with the parish for seven years, is not living at the St. Louis rectory in Fort Kent and Tuesday afternoon the receptionist for the parish said his place of residence is unknown.

Nadeau’s attorneys released a statement several days after he stepped down confirming the investigation was not related to any incident sexual in nature.

“While we are unable to comment on the substance of the investigation at this time, we can state unequivocally what it is not about,” Scott G. Hunter of Solman & Hunter in Caribou and Richard S. Berne of the Law Offices of Richard S. Berne LLC in Portland said in the statement. “We have been informed by the attorney general’s office that the investigation has absolutely nothing to do with anything sexual in nature.”

Brenda Kielty, spokeswoman for the Maine attorney general’s office, confirmed at that time that the investigation did not involve sexual impropriety but would not comment further on the allegations.

Last week, Kielty said the investigation is ongoing and there are no new details to report. Citing the investigation’s active status, she declined to comment further.

In the meantime, the diocese announced that as of Aug. 1, the Revs. James Albert, Richard Ouellette and Clement Thibodeau will celebrate Masses, marriages, funerals and baptisms throughout the parish, which includes Fort Kent, New Canada, Eagle Lake, Wallagrass and St. Francis.

Dennis Bouchard, parish life coordinator, will be administrator for the day-to-day business operations of the parish.

The Rev. Robert Vaillancourt, who has been serving St. John Vianney Parish since April, is taking a two- to three-month medical leave of absence.

After the leave, he will begin his new assignment at Holy Savior in Rumford, where retired Rev. Ray Picard is serving as the temporary administrator and attending to pastoral and administrative needs.

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