Mountain Home Priest Placed on Leave
Raul Covarrubias, Pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish, Is Accused of Misconduct

By Bill Roberts
Idaho Statesman
September 22, 2007

A Catholic priest in Mountain Home has been put on paid leave following allegations of misconduct, Roman Catholic Diocese officials in Boise said Friday.

Raul Covarrubias, 63, pastor at Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish since 1992, was put on leave Sept. 14.

Diocesan officials would not describe the allegations, but a written statement to parishioners from Bishop Michael P. Driscoll suggests that abuse was involved.

"I ask you to keep in your prayers Father Raul, the person who made the claim and all victims of abuse and violence," he wrote.

When the Idaho Statesman asked for a copy of the policy governing misconduct, the diocese furnished a copy of its policy on sexual misconduct.

A diocesan spokesman said he did not know when the allegation was made or when incidents may have occurred.

He also did not know if church officials had notified authorities.

Kristina Schindele, Elmore County prosecutor, said she was not aware of any criminal charge or investigation into misconduct allegations.

Diocesan officials told parishioners last weekend. Tina Barrie, the church secretary, said the congregation is in shock that its pastor was put on leave. Covarrubias, was "well respected and well loved," she said.

Covarrubias is the church's only full-time minister.

Driscoll also wrote, "Rest assured that as painful as this process may be, we are following the guidelines as we have created them for circumstances just like this."

Driscoll also told parishioners to contact the diocese if they know of anyone who has been abused by clergy, diocesan employees or volunteers.

The diocese said it will furnish other pastors to the parish.

Bill Roberts: 377-6408


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