Former Marion Priest accused of sexual abuse

Jan 8, 2021

MARION — A former Marion priest was named in a list of clergy members accused of sexual abuse in a Jan. 7 press release from the Fall River Diocese. 

Father Justin Quinn — whom the diocese listed among those credibly accused of sexual abuse — was assigned as pastor to St. Rita’s Church in Marion in 1974, according to an August 1974 issue of diocesan newsletter “The Anchor.”

Quinn’s last recorded baptism at the church was in June of 1978, according to St. Rita’s records. The list released by the Diocese shows that Quinn was assigned to 11 different parishes by the Fall River Diocese before he died in 1996. St. Rita’s was the sixth parish to which Quinn was assigned. 

The list of clergy released by the diocese was broken into two categories: Credibly accused and publicly accused. 

According to the diocese, credible allegations are those that meet a “semblance of truth” standard similar to that of probable cause (in which there is a reasonable basis for believing a crime was committed).

Cases in which clergy members were labeled “publicly accused” lacked sufficient information to determine the accusation’s credibility, according to the press release. 

Over 50 priests, seminarians, and other religious leaders were considered credibly accused, with another 19 listed as publicly accused. 

Along with the list of accused clergy, the Fall River Diocese released a letter from Bishop Edgar M. da Cunha in which da Cunha apologized to all survivors of child sexual abuse.

“I am deeply sorry,” he wrote. “We as a Church failed when you were most vulnerable. I firmly resolve to do all we can to help you heal, make certain we are accountable, and protect our children so that no other child suffers as you have.”

Bishop da Cunha also noted that the review took longer than anticipated, with the list of names released nearly two years after the investigation was announced.

“The review of Diocesan records, some going back 70 years, was incredibly arduous and time consuming,” he wrote. “While this review has taken longer than first anticipated, it was crucial that we took the time needed to do it right.”

Diocese officials investigating allegations of abuse comprise a Ministerial Review Board set up in 2020 that includes a psychologist, a nurse, a social worker, a former Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Appeals Court, a retired Senior Executive of the FBI, and others.