Former Cranston, Warwick priest indicted on sexual assault charges

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A Roman Catholic priest formerly assigned to parishes in Cranston, Warwick and Providence has been indicted on five counts of first-degree sexual assault, according to the office of Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

The Rev. Barry Meehan, 65, of 767 Providence St. in West Warwick, was arraigned in Providence County Superior Court on Friday morning. He entered a plea of not guilty, and was released on $50,000 bail.

He was ordered to surrender his passport and have no contact with the alleged victims.

According to Kilmartin’s office, the secret indictment reported out by the Statewide Grand Jury alleges that Meehan sexually assaulted a male over the age of 14 between April 1986 and January 1991 while assigned to St. Mary Church in Cranston. He is also alleged to have sexually assaulted another male over 14 years of age between January 1991 and August 1992 while assigned to St. Augustine Church in Providence.

The attorney general’s office said one of the alleged victims came forward to the Diocese of Providence in December 2012 regarding the allegations, and Rhode Island State Police were contacted. Investigators subsequently identified a second alleged victim.

Meehan was placed on administrative leave by the diocese and resigned as pastor of St. Timothy’s in Warwick in January 2013 after the allegations surfaced. He had been appointed the pastor at St. Timothy in 2002.

Meehan was ordained in June 1978. He served at Saints Peter & Paul in West Warwick from 1978 to 1980; at St. Mary from 1980 to 1991; at St. Augustine from 1991-1996; and at St. John the Baptist and St. James in West Warwick from 1996 to 2002.

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