February 13, 2006

Aquino resigns from Loreto

Telegram & Gazette


WORCESTER— The Rev. James J. Aquino, who in 2004 was accused by Las Vegas police of sexual misconduct, stepped down as pastor of Our Lady of Loreto Parish, the Diocese of Worcester announced this weekend.

Parishioners were notified at weekend services, said Raymond L. Delisle, spokesman for the Worcester Diocese.

Bishop Robert J. McManus accepted the resignation, which came after a period of church review following allegations that Rev. Aquino engaged in inappropriate behavior with an adult. The Rev. Rocco Piccolomini will continue to serve as the temporary administrator of Our Lady of Loreto Parish, where he has been since Rev. Aquino was removed from his pastorate on Oct. 31, 2005.

According to authorities, the Rev. Aquino was issued a criminal citation on Oct. 21, 2004, by Las Vegas vice squad police officers after he was seen engaging in sexual acts with a man inside the Adult Super Store in that city. He was initially charged with lewd conduct and giving false information, because he gave police officers an incorrect Social Security number. The Rev. Aquino indicated under questioning by police — and after pulling his Massachusetts driver’s license from his shoe — that he gave the wrong information because he was a priest.

The original case was dismissed, but court records show that Rev. Aquino entered a guilty plea to a lesser charge of disorderly conduct and was required to fulfill certain obligations.

Rev. Aquino will continue to refrain from public ministry at this time, Bishop McManus said in a statement. He will not be returning to the Office of the Diaconate and will remain on administrative leave. Deacon Anthony Surozenski will continue to serve as interim director of the office.

Posted by kshaw at February 13, 2006 07:30 AM