|Nude-Jogging Priest Suspended
By Mike McPhee and John Ingold
August 9, 2007
Colorado — The Archdiocese of Denver announced Thursday it has placed a Frederick priest on administrative leave after it became public knowledge that he had been charged with indecent exposure for allegedly jogging in the nude.
The archdiocese also announced that eight years ago it investigated the same priest — the Rev. Robert Whipkey — for "inappropriate personal behavior." The archdiocese, in a statement, did not provide details on the conduct but said it did not involve any "physical or sexual contact with another individual." Authorities in Sterling, where Whipkey was serving at the time, were notified but decided not to file charges, according to the statement.
Jeannette De Melo, spokeswoman for the archdiocese, declined to provide more information on the allegations from 8 years ago.
"Our statement speaks for itself," she said.
Whipkey, 53, the pastor for three Roman Catholic churches in Frederick, Mead and Erie, was stopped by Frederick police at 4:30 a.m. June 22 for walking down the street naked. He told police he had been jogging at the Frederick High School track and was walking home.
According to the police report, Whipkey told the officer, "I'm a heavy man, and wearing clothing while running makes me sweat profusely. ... I know what I did was wrong."
Police gave him a summons for indecent exposure. If Whipkey is convicted of the misdemeanor, he will be forced to register as a sex offender.
His attorney, Doug Tisdale, failed to return phone calls.
The church learned of the incident June 29 but didn't respond until Wednesday, when it became public. Whipkey's parishioners also weren't notified until Wednesday, when an archdiocese official met with leaders from Whipkey's three parishes. During that meeting, the official announced that Whipkey had been placed on administrative leave.
Whipkey was ordained in 1983. When allegations about inappropriate behavior emerged eight years ago, the archdiocese's Conduct Response Team traveled to Sterling to investigate and meet with those who had concerns about Whipkey, according to the archdiocese's statement.
Following that investigation, Whipkey underwent an evaluation and entered therapy, which lasted several years, according to the statement.
"Health care professionals did not conclude he was a danger to others or should be removed from ministry," according to the statement.
Staff writer John Ingold can be reached at 720-929-0898 or email@example.com.
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