Priest Accused of Sex Abuse Assigned to John Day

The Associated Press, carried in Fort Worth Star-Telegram
April 1, 2006

JOHN DAY, Ore. - A priest accused of molesting a teenage girl in Texas more than 20 years ago will take over the parish in this Eastern Oregon town next week, church officials said.

The Rev. Richard Edelin was accused of abuse by a 17-year-old parishioner who was then working in youth ministry at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in west Houston.

Edelin has denied the allegation and church officials in Houston said their investigation could not substantiate the abuse claim.

Parishioners at St. Elizabeth of Hungary Catholic Church in John Day will be advised of the situation this weekend, said Rev. James Logan, chancellor of the Baker Diocese, which covers 18 Eastern Oregon counties.

Edelin is listed on a church Web site as temporary administrator and director of religious education at St. Elizabeth. He had served previously in the Hermiston area.

Logan said he thought the John Day parish has about 60 families.

He said the Oregon diocese has had "very clear communication" with Houston about the allegation "and the fact that no substance to it was found."

The Houston Chronicle reported that in 1996 the Galveston-Houston Diocese sent the alleged victim an apology and $5,000 for counseling expenses she said she incurred.

"It is not an admission that the priest did whatever she was alleging he did," Bishop Joseph Fiorenza said. "But clearly there is pain there."

The woman claimed the affair began with hugs and advanced to groping in church offices, during confession and on retreats. She said she declined an offer to go to his bedroom

Houston church officials said there were no other complaints against Edelin.

At the time of the complaint, church officials said, Edelin was not serving as a priest for unrelated reasons they declined to discuss.

The chancellor of the Galveston-Houston Diocese, Msgr. Frank Rossi, said Edelin asked to return to the ministry in late 2002.


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