A former Roman Catholic priest awaiting trial on sexual assault charges has died.
The Rhode Island Medical Examiner’s Office says Barry Meehan died of a heart attack on December 8. He was 67.
Meehan pleaded not guilty in 2014 to five counts of first-degree
sexual assault on two young men in the late 1980s and early 1990s while
Meehan was a priest at parishes in Providence and Cranston.
He resigned as pastor of St. Timothy’s Church in Warwick in 2013
after state police conducted a joint investigation with the Providence
Catholic Diocese beginning in 2012.
The Vatican laicized Meehan last
A state police investigation led to Meehan’s arrest and indictment in
November 2014 on five charges of felony sexual assault in the first
degree, involving two alleged victims.
The allegations dated to the
1980s and early 1990s. Meehan pleaded not guilty, was released on bail
and ordered not to contact the alleged victims.
Attorney General Peter Kilmartin’s office says the charges will be
formally dismissed on January 4, which was Meehan’s next scheduled court
date, because the defendant is now deceased.
Meehan lived in West Warwick. The Catholic Diocese of Providence had
no comment on Meehan’s passing, said spokeswoman Carolyn E. Cronin.
Cronin did say, however, that Meehan was one of five priests removed
from ministry over sex abuse charges since Bishop Thomas J. Tobin came
to the Providence diocese in 2005, and the only one to have been