NEW BEDFORD, Massachusetts — A Catholic priest in Massachusetts who was removed from ministry after the church determined that allegations of child sexual abuse he faced were “credible” has filed a defamation lawsuit against his bishop.
Daniel Lacroix, 61, sued Diocese of Fall River Bishop Edgar da Cunha last week, The Standard-Times of New Bedford reported Tuesday.
Lacroix, who most recently served at three New Bedford churches, was placed on administrative leave in 2019. A diocese review board in November determined the allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were credible and removed Lacroix from ministry.
The suit does not seek monetary compensation, but a declaratory judgment that Lacroix did not engage in any misconduct.
“My client has been viciously slandered, and his entire life and career have been put on hold, all without any measure of due process,” Lacroix’s attorney, Philip Beauregard, said in a statement.
“This lawsuit is intended to give him the opportunity to prove his innocence to these heinous charges,” he said.
The diocese in a statement said: “Father Lacroix’s name appears on the list of Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the Diocese of Fall River as a result of a fair and thorough review.”
Lacroix was not criminally charged.