A 76-year-old retired Roman Catholic priest was convicted of rape Tuesday by a judge who labeled him a sexual predator.
Monsignor Louis Dunn was taken into custody after the judge announced the verdict. The charge carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
Dunn was convicted of raping Mary Ryan, now 36, in her Providence apartment in 1982. She testified that Dunn drew her into a 4-1/2-year sexual relationship that she said began with kissing and fondling and culminated in rape.
Superior Court Judge Stephen Fortunato said it was “clear that some amount of physical coercion was employed and he took advantage of his priestly collar to prey upon her.”
The same judge last week cleared Dunn of a rape charge involving another woman, Lucille Farr, citing lack of force in that case.
Ryan and Farr went public when they filed civil lawsuits against Dunn, the Diocese of Providence and its bishop in 1995. Those lawsuits and a third alleging sexual misconduct by Dunn are pending.
Defense lawyer Bruce Vealey declined to comment, as did prosecutor David Prior after the verdict. During his closing argument, Prior said Dunn used his position to gain Ryan’s trust, then lured her into a sexual relationship.