A licensed social worker who works for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland has been punished by the state for ethics violations.
Carolyn Bloom reached out via text to a woman who says she was coerced into a sexual relationship with disgraced priest Anthony Cipolle, according to attorneys.
However, because the woman, Melissa Kearns, was not a child, she was not eligible for services, the Portland Press Herald reported.
The two women exchanged texts for months, leading the woman to think Bloom was her therapist, which she apparently was not, according to court documents.
Bloom was censured by the state and agreed to pay for and participate in a year-long supervision program as part of her punishment.
Kearns, who first shared her allegations against Cipolle with the Press Herald, said that he pressured her into having sex and isolated her from her loved ones, saying he was the only person who cared about her. That started in 2018 after she moved back to the Bangor area and attending St. John’s Catholic Church.
By the end of 2018, Kearns needed to get away from Cipolle, so she moved back to New York, according to the Portland newspaper.
Before they met, Cipolle was involved with another woman, Rennee Henneberry Clark, who was killed by her brother-in-law Philip Clark in 2018. Kearns thought Cipolle was a hero who helped Henneberry Clark leave a toxic relationship. But as the 2019 trial unfolded and Cipolle’s involvement became more clear, Kearns began to think her experience with him wasn’t unique.
Cipolle had helped Henneberry Clark leave her husband and rented a room from her in a house in Etna. He helped her collect her things from her home in Hampden, including tools and construction equipment that belonged to Clark, which he went to recover the night he shot her 10 times.
The priest testified he and Clark got into a fist fight that day just hours before Henneberry Clark’s death.
The judge in Philip Clark’s trial said Cipolle had an “opportunity” and “a moral obligation” to diffuse tensions, which began over accusations of stolen tools, but instead “inflamed” the situation.
Cipolle was removed from the ministry in May 2020 after the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland found Cipolle had “abused his position” in the church, violated the diocese’s code of ethics and “attempted to deceive investigators.” He had been ordained less than three years.