Covington Priest Put on Leave
November 20, 2006
Covington – The pastor of St. John Church and St. Ann Mission has been placed on administrative leave after a sexual abuse allegation was reported to officials.
The allegation involves an incident that apparently occurred at least 25 years ago, according to a statement released Monday by the Covington Diocese. The person bringing the allegation, now an adult, has no affiliation with either parish or its Prince of Peace School.
Bishop Roger Foys informed parishioners of the allegation during masses this past weekend.
Foys chose to place Father Fortner on administrative leave while an investigation is conducted to determine whether the allegation can be substantiated, in accordance with the U.S. Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Diocesan spokesman Tim Fitzgerald said Fortner has been very cooperative in the investigation. Fitzgerald also said the diocese has forwarded the allegations to the appropriate law enforcement officials.
Fortner, who could not be reached for comment, was ordained in May 1970. He has served as associate at St. Francis de Sales Church, Newport; St. Joseph Church, Crescent Springs; St. Catherine of Siena Church, Ft. Thomas; and St. Pius X Church, Edgewood.
Since 1982 he has served as pastor at St. Anthony Church, Bellevue, and St. Pius X Church, before being named pastor of St. John Church and St. Ann Mission in 1999.
In the early 1970s he served on the faculties of Holy Cross, Newport Central and Covington Catholic high schools.
Foys is expected to appoint a pastoral administrator for the parish pending the outcome of the investigation.
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