Priests Warn of Upcoming Allegations Clergy Ask Two Congregations to Pray for Monsignor
Of Aiken Church Who Retired Last Week

By Greg Rickabaugh
Augusta Chronicle (Georgia)
May 27, 2002

Priests at two Catholic churches in Aiken County told members during Sunday services to expect to hear soon about decades-old sexual allegations against Monsignor Thomas Evatt, who retired last week from St. Mary Help of Christians Catholic Church in Aiken.

Members of Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church in North Augusta and St. Mary Help of Christians were told about the allegations and were asked to pray for the monsignor.

Monsignor Evatt retired last week, citing health problems, according to church members contacted by The Augusta Chronicle. A call to his listed telephone number was not answered Sunday.

Asked about his prayer request to the North Augusta church, the Rev. Sandy McDonald told The Chronicle his comments were made for the sole benefit of church members, but he said he understood that no arrest had been made. He referred other questions to the public relations office at the Diocese of Charleston, where a recording said no one would be available until Tuesday.

In comments to The Charlotte (N.C.) Observer last month, Charleston Diocese spokesman John Carroll said the diocese would not turn over names of priests accused of sexually abusing minors. He said he stood by the policy of investigating complaints first to avoid a "witch-hunt mentality."

Mr. Carroll declined to provide details of the diocese's current investigation of several unnamed priests accused of abusing minors. He told the Observer that none of the priests being investigated is active and that none of the cases involves victims who are minors


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