Assignment Record– Rev. Joseph J. Rocha, O.P.

Summary of Case: Joseph J. Rocha was ordained for the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in 1966.
He was assigned to Dominican Houses of Studies in Washington DC and Dover MA, to parishes in
Johnson City TN and Providence RI, and to a high school in Warwick RI. He also served on the Tribunal
for the Providence diocese. At some point Rocha left the priesthood. In 2001 he pleaded guilty to the
sexual assault in 1999 of a 21-year-old mentally disabled man, for whom he had been working as a
personal care attendant. Rocha's victim had been baptized by him during his priesthood. He was also
accused in a lawsuit settled in December 2015 of sexually abusing a minor while assigned to St. Stephen's
Priory in Dover MA, 1968-69.

Ordained: 1966

Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Washington DC archbishop was William Wakefield Baum (1973-1980).

1967 College of the Immaculate Conception Washington DC Student priest Dominican House of Studies


Boston archbishop was Richard James Cushing (1944-1970).

1970 St. Stephen's Priory


• Accused in a lawsuit settled December 2015 of sexually abusing a minor 1968-69 while at St. Stephen's Priory.

MA   Dominican House of Studies


Nashville bishop was Joseph Aloysius Durick (1969-1975).


St. Mary's

Stations-Jonesboro; also Johnson County

St. Martin's Chapel, National Sanitorium, attended from St. Mary's.

Johnson City TN


Listed as J.J. Rocha, and is fourth priest after Revs. B.G. Schneider, O.P.; Valerian Lucier, O.P., J.C. Allegra, O.P. Fifth priest is Rev. Raymond Blais, O.P.

St. Mary's had a school with 100 students.


Louis Edward Gelineau was Providence bishop (1971-1997).

1977 St. Pius Providence RI

6/9, 5/9

Prior from 1971-1976 was Very Rev. Charles V. Farrell, O.P., replaced in 1976 by Very Rev. William L. Patten, O.P. Sub Prior was Very Rev. James S. Murray, O.P. Third priest was Rev. Paul C. Curran, O.P.

Rocha also worked with Rev. Joseph R. Scordo, O.P., who was fourth priest until 1975. Fifth priest and one spot ahead of Rocha 1971-1972 was Paul W. Cronin, O.P. Priests and Brothers listed after Rocha were in residence. They were Bro. Francis Connolly, O.P. 1971-1972, Bro. Denis Swann, O.P. 1971- 1974, Rev. Clifford L. Davis , O.P. 1972-1977, Rev. Walter J. Tierney, O.P. 1972- 1977, Rev. Matthew V. Reilly, O.P. 1972-1977.

St. Pius had a school with 314-332 students.
1977 1983 Bishop Hendricken High School Warwick RI Chaplain 1977-1978 and Chaplain of the Brothers thereafter.

BHH was a Christian Brothers' school with 947-1,040 students, all male.

1977 1980 Counsellor of the Diocesan Tribunal   RI    
1980 1985 Judge of the Diocesan Tribunal   RI    
1983 1986 St. Raymond's Providence RI


In residence. Pastor was Rev. John T. Murphy, O.P. Second priest 1983-1984 was Rev. John Michael Pietrzyzk, O.P., replaced by Rev. James D. Keating, O.P. Third priest was Rev. James C. Sheehan, O.P.. Also in residence were fourth priest Rev. Adrian L. Dionne, O.P., Chaplain of Miriam Hospital, and fifth priest Edward P. Doyle, O.P., Chaplain of Summit Medical Center.

St. Raymond's had a school with 156-128 students.

Rocha is not indexed in the Directory after 1986.


Robert Edward Mulvee replaced Gelineau as bishop (1997-2005).

1998 1999  


• Pleaded guilty in August 2001 of sexually assaulting a mentally disabled 21-year-old male in 1999. Rocha had left the priesthood and was a personal attendant for the victim, who lived at an assisted living facility in North Providence. Rocha had baptized the victim while a priest.


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: Kenedy & Sons, (1967-1986).

Ex-Priest Guilty in Sex Assault of Assisted-Living Home Resident, Associated Press, carried in Providence Journal-Bulletin, September 1, 2001
Recent Priest Abuse Settlements, Boston Globe, March 28, 2016
Assignment Histories for 16 Clerics Named in Recent Settlements by Attorney Mitchell Garabedian,Researched by


Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy & Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Rocha's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated April 11, 2016.


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