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Former chancellor of NH diocese, head of treatment center, will serve jail time

April 23, 2014

A New Hampshire court has approved a plea-bargaining agreement that will require Msgr. Edward Arsenault to serve a 4-year prison term, and repay $288,000 to the Manchester diocese and a local Catholic Medical Center.

Msgr. Arsenault—a former chancellor of the Manchester diocese, and former president of the St. Luke Institute—had entered a guilty plea on three felony charges arising from his theft of funds. He admitted that he used the money to support a relationship with a partner who has been identified only as “an adult.”

The sentencing of Msgr. Arsenault revives concerns about the sex-abuse scandal because as chancellor of the New Hampshire diocese he had been responsible for handling complaints against other clerics, and as president of the St. Luke Institute he had headed a prominent facility treating priests accused of sexual abuse.

The Manchester diocese has released a timeline showing how Msgr. Arsenault used his positions to authorize payments for himself, apparently without the knowledge of other diocesan officials. The illicit payments came to light after a diocesan employee reported that Msgr. Arsenault was being blackmailed by his partner; the disgraced priest later denied that report, saying that he had raised the funds voluntarily.


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  • Posted by: shrink - Apr. 30, 2014 4:52 PM ET USA

    Wouldn't it be great if Phil Lawler could do an exposé on the general managers of these treatment centers. Let's start with the founder of St Luke's, Fr. Peterson, who died of AIDS. Then there's Arsenault. Not sure about Rosette, but he deserves a closer look, given what we know about the other general managers at St Luke's. Then let's move on to Fr Kane, who had to skip town from Worcester's House of Affirmation. You get the picture. Lots of material.

  • Posted by: filioque - Apr. 28, 2014 6:40 PM ET USA

    Are priests accused of sexual abuse still being sent to St. Luke's?

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Apr. 23, 2014 8:53 PM ET USA

    No, the partner, name and all, has now been fully revealed. Nobody in NH is terribly surprised to learn that the former go-to guy for the terrible homosexual abuse scandals in the diocese was himself involved in a homosexual relationship. It could not have been otherwise given that, during Arsenault's tenure at the chancery, denial followed upon denial, and all attempts to get to the heart of the scandal seemed to ultimately fail. Now we know why.

  • Posted by: normnuke - Apr. 23, 2014 8:31 PM ET USA

    This explains a lot. Has St. Luke's been closed?

  • Posted by: ElizabethD - Apr. 23, 2014 8:24 PM ET USA

    WHAT?! Unbelievable corruption. Fr Arsenault is the priest who headed the National Catholic Risk Retention group, advising dioceses all over the country to settle with all accusers in order to minimize potential costs, throwing priests accused of abuse under the bus, sometimes without even investigating the claims. He is the priest who guided the Dio of Manchester not to defend or even respect rights of Fr Gordon Macrae who says he was accused falsely and is now serving a long prison sentence.