Retired Priest Facing Another Molestation Allegation
DuMouchel, 78, a retired Roman Catholic priest, is accused of touching the then-16-year-old girl's breast and kissing her against her will on at least three occasions after she gave birth in 1957. During that time, she was a patient at the old St. Francis Hospital at Rutledge Avenue and Calhoun Street, police said.
The victim, now 62, told a judge that she reported the incident to hospital staff at the time, but nothing was done.
Detective Melvin Magwood said it appears that the complaint was never forwarded to Charleston police for investigation.
The woman marks the third person to step forward in recent months to accuse DuMouchel of making improper sexual advances decades ago. In November, he was charged with sexually molesting two girls while working at city churches and a local hospital.
He is accused of fondling a 12-year-old girl on at least three occasions in 1955 at the Cathedral Grammar School on Queen Street. He also is accused of fondling a girl who was 17 or 18 years old on at least three occasions at the former St. Francis Xavier Hospital in Charleston between 1958 and 1959, according to arrest affidavits.
In light of the allegations, Bishop Robert J. Baker has suspended DuMouchel from performing priestly functions and has barred him from wearing clerical garb, said Maria Aselage, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Charleston."Our goal is to protect children, and we do everything we can to protect children," she said.
In the latest incident, DuMouchel is charged with assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.
A beefy man with thinning gray hair, DuMouchel appeared at a bail hearing wearing a plaid shirt and black slacks. His lawyer, Frank Cornely, told the judge that the retired priest is in poor health and presents no risk of flight.
The woman who accused DuMouchel of fondling her asked the judge to set some sort of bail, saying she has "lived with this for all these years."
Magistrate Jack Guedalia released DuMouchel on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, saying the restrictions he placed on the retired priest will provide sufficient safeguards.
Guedalia restricted the suspect to his home at the Our Lady of Mercy convent on James Island and ordered him to get a mental health evaluation by Feb. 28. He also has barred DuMouchel from contacting the victims or their families and banned him from being in the presence of women under age 18 without adult supervision.
After leaving Charleston in 1959, DuMouchel served in various parishes across the state, including parishes in Greenville and Aiken. He retired in April 1999 and returned to Charleston.
Glenn Smith covers police and crime. Contact him at 937-5556 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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