Priest Placed on Leave after Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

The Associated Press, carried in WVEC [Virginia]
May 10, 2006

A northern Virginia priest has been placed on leave following allegations he engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with two girls more than 25 years ago, church officials said Wednesday.

The Diocese of Arlington was investigating claims against the Rev. Tran Dinh Nhi of St. Ambrose Church in Annandale stemming from 1975 to 1980, when the girls were between the ages of 13 and 17.

One allegation was made by a woman after she attended a program sponsored by the diocese on recognizing and reporting child abuse. In an interview with the first woman, the diocese learned the name of a possible second victim, who was immediately contacted.

After a preliminary review of the allegations Monday, the diocese's Review Board advised Bishop Paul S. Loverde the allegations appeared to be credible. The diocese is cooperating with authorities and continues to look for any additional victims, spokesman Soren Johnson said.

Nhi, 61, has denied any wrongdoing.

"We take any allegation of misconduct seriously," Loverde said in a statement. "As a family of faith, we have an absolute responsibility to provide for the safety and welfare of our children and young people."

At the time the allegations reportedly occurred, Nhi served at the St. Rita and St. Lawrence parishes in Alexandria and the St. Charles Borromeo parish in Arlington. Nhi has been in Annandale since last year.


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