Accused Priest on Leave
N.Ky. Pastor Denies Allegations from 1970s

By Ryan Clark
Cincinnati Enquirer
January 13, 2006

A Northern Kentucky priest has been accused of sexual misconduct with a child and removed from parish work.

Rev. Richard Frazier, 55, most recently the pastor at Divine Mercy Parish in Bellevue and St. Bernard Church in Dayton, has been placed on administrative leave while officials investigate the allegations. Frazier denies the charges.

Bishop Roger Foys of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington told members of the churches last weekend of the allegations. Thursday he released a statement explaining that the allegations came to light during the class action settlement process in the sexual abuse lawsuit pending against the diocese in Boone Circuit Court. "All members of the plaintiff class were required by the Court to submit an initial census form providing very basic information about the abuse on which their claim is based.

"I am saddened to report that the forms received as part of this process included allegations of abuse by a priest in active ministry, Father Richard Frazier, prior to his ordination as a priest.

"The abuse is reported to have occurred in the late 1970's and early 1980's," Foys said in the statement. "Father Frazier has denied that he had sexual contact with any minors either before or after his ordination as a priest and maintains his innocence."

Frazier, a native of Maysville, was ordained in May 1996, and he served as Parochial Vicar of St. Thomas Church in Fort Thomas from July 1996 through July 1998. He served in the same position at St. Joseph Church in Cold Spring from July 1998 through July 2001, and in July 2001 was named pastor of St. Edward Church in Cynthiana. He left that job in July 2004 to lead the Bellevue/Dayton parishes. He also was chaplain at Newport Central Catholic High School from July 1997 through July 1999 and chaplain at Bishop Brossart High School from August 1999 through July 2000.

Tim Fitzgerald, spokesman for the Covington Diocese, said during the leave:

Deacon Charles Dietz will serve as temporary administrator of the church and parish.

Monsignor Gilbert Rutz and Rev. John Kroger will serve as sacramental ministers.

"They will be available to provide sacraments to people, to make sick calls, funerals, weddings - everything the priest can do," Fitzgerald said.

It isn't known how long the investigation will take, Fitzgerald said.

In response to allegations of sexual abuse, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati established a $3 million fund for victims and more than 130 people filed claims for the funds.

An independent tribunal began mailing the checks to victims 10 months ago.

Officials with St. Bernard chose not to comment Thursday, and calls to Divine Mercy Parish seeking comment were not returned. The Divine Mercy parish was made up of two churches - Sacred Heart Church and St. Anthony Church - until the two were merged into Divine Mercy.



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