Former St. Mary’s pastor named among ‘credibly accused priests’

Aug 29, 2022

A priest who once worked at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Padanaram is among those added to the Diocese of Fall River’s list of “credibly accused” clergy last week.

The diocese said the Rev. John Gomes, who retired from St. Mary’s in 2012, is accused of sexually abusing a minor.

The alleged abuse happened “decades ago” and did not occur at St. Mary’s or involve the parish, Rev. David Frederici said.

Gomes also served in Fall River, Somerset, and Taunton, according to the diocese.

The news comes just weeks after the Fall River Diocese announced that another former St. Mary’s pastor, Rev. Rodney Thibault, was placed on administrative leave following an investigation into alleged misconduct that reportedly “did not involve a minor,” according to the diocese.

“We are again being painfully reminded that human beings, in the Church, in government or society at large, are not perfect and are in fact capable of some horrible things,” Frederici said in a statement to the St. Mary’s congregation.

He added that all clergy, staff and volunteers are required to submit to a criminal background check, sign a code of conduct, and participate in regular child and youth protection training.

As a result of the “credible accusations,” the Diocese of Fall River said Gomes is prohibited from providing spiritual direction, wearing clerical attire, or presenting himself as a priest.

Anyone with any concerns about the conduct of any priest, staff, or volunteer affiliated with the diocese is encouraged to contact Director of Safe Environment and Victim Assistance Carolyn Shipp at (508) 985-6508 by emailing