Priest on Leave over Allegation Dating Back 30 Years

Associated Press State & Local Wire
June 4, 2002

The Rev. Patrick Barrett, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Mapleton, has been placed on administrative leave because of a sexual misconduct allegation.

An adult recently contacted Patrick R. Cooney, bishop of the Diocese of Gaylord, about an incident involving Barrett that allegedly took place 30 years ago, when the accuser was a minor.

"Following initial interviews, members of the Diocesan Misconduct Commission deemed the information as credible and warranting further investigation, thus prompting the leave of absence," the diocese said in a statement.

It said the misconduct was alleged to have happened outside the diocese.

Calls to Barrett's home Tuesday were unanswered.

Cooney presided over masses last weekend at St. Joseph, located on Old Mission Peninsula. Following each mass, he explained the situation to parishioners

"These situations are painful for everyone involved - so many people are hurting," Cooney said in the statement, issued Sunday. "No one should suffer from the evil of abuse and when it does occur, we each need to stand with those who have been victimized and do what we can to assist them on the path to healing.

"At the same time, we must also work to assure that those who are accused are treated with justice and dignity."

At least 17 Catholic priests in Michigan have been removed, suspended or have left their duties since Jan. 1 amid sexual abuse or misconduct allegations.


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