Is there a story you think we should be covering? Have a tip on something we should look at?
Contact Us

Diocese Completes Investigation into Claims of Inappropriate Conduct at St. John’s Food for the Poor Program

By Patrick Sargent | July 14, 2022
Last Updated: July 14, 2022

WORCESTER  – The Diocese of Worcester released a heavily redacted 72-page report on Thursday on findings from the investigation into alleged inappropriate conduct by former St. John’s Food for the Poor director William “Billy” Riley.

Findings from the investigation into Riley’s alleged inappropriate conduct with female patrons at the Food for the program were completely redacted. However, Riley resigned from the program director position on Wednesday, according to the Diocese of Worcester.

Read the Report Here

The independent investigation was conducted by Atty. Robert J. Hennigan Jr. of Worcester.  The investigation started on March 17.  Thursday’s released report details three separate complaints against Riley, but the full examination of each complaint is nearly all redacted.

The redactions uphold the privacy of the claimants and people who cooperated in the investigation as well as the employee in accordance with Massachusetts employment law.

Hennigan’s investigation also looked into Fr. John Madden’s, pastor of St. John’s parish, alleged involvement and inappropriate conduct, including claims of witness manipulation by paying money for the benefit of an individual who could be involved in the investigation. Hennigan’s investigation concluded that all claims against Fr. Madden were not warranted.

In total, 85 people were contacted during the investigation. They included diocesan and parish staff, program volunteers, and men and women who are, or at one time were residents of Harrington House. According to the Diocese, many of the people cooperated with the investigation while some either refused to participate or did not return phone calls.

“This entire investigation has been very telling about the depth and breadth of charitable assistance that is offered to people in great need who are often forced to live on the streets of Worcester. I am grateful to the investigative efforts of Attorney Hennigan, and to all the staff, clients and claimants who cooperated with his extensive effort,” Bishop Robert McManus said in a released statement on Thursday. “I also want to publicly offer my appreciation to Fr. John Madden and St. John’s Parish for their many years of compassionate care for the clients who have come to these programs and continue to come in great numbers. For many of their clients and guests, there are few, if any, options for assistance. This process helps assure them and the community at large that we serve people in need always with respect for their dignity as our brothers and sisters in the Lord.”

Bishop McManus continued, “While the investigation did not find the claims against Fr. Madden to be warranted, we respect the courage that it took for the claimants to come forward with their complaints.”

A redacted copy of the Food Program Investigation report can be found here.

Follow us on, the social network for Worcester and you!