PROVIDENCE – A former priest facing three counts of first-degree sexual assault over crimes at St. John’s Parish in the early 1980s has dementia and was deemed incompetent to stand trial in Rhode Island Superior Court on Friday, Feb. 11.
Edward Kelley, 79, served at the Roman Catholic Slatersville church in 1983, when he is accused of sexually abusing a boy who lived with him at the rectory. Kelley was reassigned to assistant pastor of Our Lady of Consolation in Pawtucket in 1985 by Bishop Louis Gelineau and again reassigned to St. Agatha Parish in Woonsocket 1986, where he remained until the early 1990s, when he was assigned to St. Aidan in Cumberland.
He resigned in 1992 at the bishop’s request and left Rhode Island in 1993, according to the Diocese of Providence. Kelley later served as an Army chaplain.
The former priest was indicted by a statewide jury in May, and arrested at his home in Columbia, South Carolina. Kelley has since been held without bail at the Eleanor Slater Hospital.
At a recent competency hearing for the charges, Dr. Barry Wall, the director of forensic services at the state-run hospital, reportedly told Magistrate John McBurney that Kelley is unable to understand or assist in the proceedings against him. According to Wall, the former priest’s dementia is permanent. and so severe that he only knows his own name.
The finding of incompetence came at the request of Kelley’s attorney, Kara Hoopis Manosh, and the state attorney general’s office did not object.
Kelley will reportedly remain at Eleanor Slater Hospital’s medical unit until an appropriate placement is found for him.