Suspended Priest Proclaims His Innocence
Paraniuk Says Archbishop Told Him He Didn't Believe Accusation
ChannelCincinnati.com [Cincinnati OH]
March 10, 2005
CINCINNATI -- One of three priests suspended by the Cincinnati archdiocese Wednesday proclaimed his innocence and said the archbishop told him face to face that he didn't believe the allegation.
Father Michael Paraniuk said the allegation that he abused a man in 1983 was investigated three times and was never substantiated, News 5's John London reported.
Paraniuk said Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk told him last week he didn't believe the accusation.
"Archbishop Pilarczyk looked at me and said, 'I think you're innocent.' But I have to suspend you because money was awarded. We have to take this to the next level."
The archdiocese said it was required to suspend Paraniuk, Stanley Doerger and David Vincent after an independent panel awarded money to their accusers from a victim's fund.
Paraniuk said it was his idea to give money to his accuser.
"I made the suggestion." Parakiuk said. "I said, 'Give him money.' If it makes him feel better and brings this to closure for me, then we could get on with our lives, I said, 'Give him money.'
"But I'm telling you, I am innocent. I did not do this."
The independent panel found that allegations against the three priests were plausible enough to warrant compensation, the archdiocese said. That finding gave the accusations a "semblance of truth," and that's the point at which U.S. Church law says a priest is to be removed from the ministry.
For now, Paraniuk, who had been chaplain for Children's Hospital, the Cincinnati Fire Department and Mercy Health Partners Mount Airy, has lost his priestly duties and wonders if he'll ever get them back.
"I've been 40 years in religious life and 25 years in the priesthood and as of noon today that all ceases," he said.
Paraniuk would have been a priest for two years at the time of the alleged incident in 1983. The man accusing Paraniuk was 13 when he says Paraniuk abused him in a private home. The man made the allegation in 1995 and came forward again in 2004 with the same allegation but dissimilar details, the archdiocese said.
The archdiocese said it investigated both times but couldn't substantiate the claims.
"I do not know this man. I've never met him. I never talked to him. I never ministered to him. I've never been to his home," Paraniuk said.
The priests' cases will now go to a seven-member panel for review. The review panel will either recommend they be reinstated or send their cases to the Vatican.
There are already 12 cases from the Cincinnati archdiocese pending at the Vatican, London reported.
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