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Maine diocese says priest will return to ministry

The Diocese of Portland says it is returning a priest to active ministry after an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse.

PORTLAND, Maine — A Roman Catholic priest is returning to active ministry after an investigation into allegations of sexual abuse, the Diocese of Portland said Wednesday.

The diocese said its investigation into the Rev. Robert Vaillancourt took a year. The allegations concerned sexual abuse of girls in the 1980s.

The diocese said in a statement that the allegations were “determined to be unfounded.” It said Vaillancourt has not received a new assignment from the diocese yet.

Vaillancourt was placed on administrative leave in July 2021 after the diocese received the first complaint. The diocese then received a second allegation from an attorney representing another woman.

Vaillancourt denied any wrongdoing at the time of the accusations and the diocese said he cooperated with the investigation. He is a native of Lewiston who has served at parishes around the state.

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