Father Anthony Cipolle
Diocese of Portland
Leave of Absence: 2018
- 2017: Our Lady of the Snows (Dexter, ME)
- 2017-2018: St. Paul the Apostle (Bangor, ME)
- 2018: Leave of Absence
- 2020: Permanently removed from ministry by Bishop of Portland
Summary of Allegations Against Fr. Anthony Cipolle
Fr. Anthony Cipolle was a Catholic priest who served in the Diocese of Portland. After initially submitting his application for the priesthood to the Diocese in 2012, the diocese paid for him to complete his undergraduate education and attend the seminary. Despite his checkered past, which includes multiple career changes, a son, a marriage, and criminal charges (including attempted murder, attempted insurance fraud, and drug possession), Cipolle’s non-traditional path to the church was finalized when he was ordained in 2017 at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Portland. He served 18 months as a parochial vicar at St. Paul the Apostle Parish in Bangor until he was removed pending the Diocese’s investigation of his role in the murder of a female parishioner in July 2018.
According to multiple media reports and Bishop Accountability, in 2018, Fr. Anthony Cipolle was ultimately removed from ministry by Bishop Robert Deeley after he “inflamed” events leading up to a 49-year-old Hampden woman’s murder. The victim, Renee Henneberry Clark, was shot ten times by her brother after a heated conversation with Cipolle, her “spiritual advisor.” Although the brother was sentenced to 43 years in prison, the Diocese of Portland launched a probe into the role Cipolle played in the events leading up to Hennebery Clark’s death. During the investigation, it was determined that Cipolle abused his position as a clergy member, violated the Diocese of Portland’s Code of Ethics, and attempted to deceive investigators.
In 2022, Horowitz Law represented another female parishioner who alleges she was sexually exploited by Cipolle over the course of several months in late 2018 and early 2019, after Renee Clark was murdered. During the course of the case, Horowitz Law learned of many concerns raised by Cipolle’s superiors in the Diocese of Portland about his lack of boundaries with parishioners and his qualifications for counseling parishioners – even before he was ordained a priest. The legal case against the Diocese of Portland was for the failure to protect the vulnerable woman, despite all of the warning signs. It ultimately settled without litigation.
Despite prior felony arrests, his widely-reported role in the Hennebery Clark murder, and his alleged sexual exploitation of Horowitz Law’s client, Cipolle, age 58, was on staff at Vanderbilt University Medical Center as a resident chaplain in the pastoral education department until at least April 2023. In April 2023, Cipolle was removed from the medical center website immediately after the Portland Press Herald reported extensively on the allegation that Cipolle coerced a parishioner into a sexual relationship during the same period he provided pastoral counseling to her.
Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Portland in Maine. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Maine, contact our office today. Although many years have passed, those abused by Catholic clergy in the Diocese of Portland now have legal options, but filing deadlines may apply so do not delay in reaching out to us. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Maine and nationwide. We can help.Contact us at 888-283-9922 or [email protected] to discuss your options today.