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  Former Area Priest Defrocked
Vatican Orders Two Others Removed from Ministry and Two More Returned to Duty

By Jim Bebbington
Dayton Daily News [Ohio]
October 13, 2005

The Vatican has defrocked one former southwest Ohio priest, ordered two others permanently removed from ministry, and cleared two more to return to duty in a slate of decisions announced Wednesday involving priests accused of sexual misconduct.

Keith Albrecht, 60, a former priest at St. Luke Catholic Church in Beavercreek, was ordered defrocked, the church's highest penalty for clergy, the Vatican announced.

Albrecht was placed on leave in February 1993 over an allegation that he had molested a boy in Beavercreek in the late 1970s when Albrecht was associate pastor of St. Luke. A second allegation was made involving a Shelby County boy who was visiting New York with Albrecht in the late 1980s during his tenure at Holy Trinity in Coldwater.

The Vatican also ordered that Thomas Hopp, 65, a former priest at the Queen of Martyrs Church in Harrison Twp., and Francis Massarella, 90, a former priest at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Tipp City, be permanently removed from church ministry.

This lesser punishment prohibits them from dressing or publicly presenting themselves as priests, but allows them to remain living in church-owned properties and keeps them on church payrolls.

Massarella engaged in "inappropriate behavior with minor girls" during the 1950s, Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati told the congregation previously.

Hopp resigned in 2002 as pastor of Queen of Martyrs after he was accused of sexually abusing a Shelby County boy in 1980.

Two other priests accused of sexual misconduct have been returned to the ministry.

The Rev. David Vincent, pastor of St. Denis Church in Versailles, and the Rev. Michael Paraniuk have been reinstated to active ministry. They were placed on administrative leave in March after an independent tribunal awarded compensation to people who had accused the two of sexual abuse.

Pilarczyk determined there was "insufficient evidence to substantiate the abuse claims," the archdiocese said in a release issued Wednesday.

There are cases against 10 additional priests in the archdiocese accused of sexual misconduct still pending before the Vatican, said Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the 19-county archdiocese.

Paraniuk of Cincinnati told the Associated Press he was elated at the decision. "I feel vindicated, and I am anxious to move forward and do God's work," he said. Paraniuk was the former chaplain of the Cincinnati Fire Department and the Children's Hospital Medical Center in Cincinnati.

There was no phone listing for Vincent in the Versailles area.

Members of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, reacted with dismay over the reinstatements of Vincent and Paraniuk. "SNAP is through accepting the archdiocese's pat answer of 'We investigated the allegations,' " the organization said. "There should be a nonbiased third party that investigates these cases, and they should have full access to the Church's records. We settle for nothing less for anyone else accused of a crime. Why should we settle for less from our Church?"

Christy Miller of West Chester, co-leader of the Cincinnati-area SNAP chapter, said the permanent, paid administrative leave for Massarella and Hopp is practically a reward. "They're essentially on a permanent leave of absence, and that is a little disheartening," she said.

 
 

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