Orthodox Catholic Priest Asked to Leave Massachusetts’ Courtroom

Told – “Judge does not like Priests”

EAST BROOKFIELD, MA – July 28, 2008: This past Monday, The Rev. Father Kenneth M. DeVoie of Emmanuel Orthodox Catholic Church in Warren, MA was asked to leave the East Brookfield District Court because he was a Priest. Father DeVoie was requested to be present in court by a family in his Parish for moral and spiritual support as their son was facing criminal charges – later dropped. According to Fr. DeVoie, and prior to the Judge being seated, the Assistant Clerk of the Court, Charles King, asked one of the Court Officers to inquire as to why a Priest, Fr. DeVoie, was in the Courtroom. Being called to the rail, Fr. DeVoie indicated that he was present, at the open hearing, at the request of his parishioners for moral and spiritual support. He was further asked who the parishioner/defendant was. Upon finding out why Fr. DeVoie was in the Courtroom, the Asst. Clerk, Mr. King, notified the parishioner/defendant’s Attorney, David Cataldo of Worcester, that Judge Charles A. Abdella “did not like Priests.” Fr. DeVoie was asked to step outside the Courtroom by Atty. Cataldo who confronted Fr. DeVoie as to why he was wearing his collar (clerical black suit) in the Courtroom, was told that Judge Abdella did not like Priests and that his presence in court jeopardized the defense of this case. Atty. Cataldo, yelling angrily and making a visible scene in the Court Building foyer, told Fr. DeVoie he had no business being in Court and to “do his thing at Church but not here in court.”

“It was really amazing”, recounts Fr. DeVoie. “I have been to court with parishioners on numerous occasions throughout the years, nothing like this has ever happened before,” he said. Fr. DeVoie said; “I was asked by others filing into the Courtroom, for their cases, if I would say a prayer for them – which I privately and gladly did.” “I really felt badly for those I was there to support. It was absolutely criminal to be asked to leave a public courtroom that was in open session because the judge did not ‘like Priests.’ I thought justice was suppose to be blind?”

Father DeVoie has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice (BSCJ) with honors from the University of Massachusetts, has worked with juvenile offenders in State custody, is a 9 and 1/2 year Veteran of the United States Coast Guard – a Federal Law Enforcement Agency (4yrs. Enlisted & 5 1/2 yrs. as a Commissioned Officer), has been married for 21 years and has two children. He pastor’s Emmanuel Orthodox Catholic Church in Warren, MA and is Supervising Priest to St. Stephen’s Orthodox Church in Springfield, MA.

Complaints are in the process of being filed with Commission on Judicial Conduct, the Committee on Professional Responsibility for Clerks of Courts, and with the Office of the Bar Council.


  1. fr. if you can please see if you can get an address for people to write to to complain about this judges bad behavior. this is a free country and any one, not cause trouble in a court room, is intitled to be present. linda

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