Cumberland Pastor Removed over Abuse Allegations

Baltimore Sun
August 23, 2009

The Archdiocese of Baltimore has removed the pastor of a Cumberland church as it investigates allegations that he sexually abused a minor in the 1970s, the archdiocese annouced on Sunday. Monsignor Thomas Bevan, pastor of St. Patrick Church since 1997, has denied the allegations, according to the archdiocese.

Representatives of the archdiocese met with parishioners and staff at St. Patrick on Sunday to inform them of the allegations and to answer questions, according to the archdiocese. Counseling assistance has been offered to all those affected, according to the archdiocese.

The individual alleging the abuse says it occurred on a number of separate occasions in the mid-1970s while he was a student at the parish school of St. John Catholic Church in Frederick, according to the archdiocese. Bevan was assigned to St. John from 1974 to 1979, according to the archdiocese.

The archdiocese says it learned of the allegations in June, and immediately reported them to civil authorities in Frederick County. The archdiocese says the authorities instructed the archdiocese not to take any further action, including continuing its own investigation or making contact with Bevan.

The archdiocese says it received permission from the authorities last Tuesday to resume its investigation and representatives of the Archdiocese met with Bevan on Wednesday. Bevan denied the allegation, according to the archdiocese. The archdiocese removed him from ministry and revoked his faculties to function as a priest, pending an archdiocesan investigation, according to the archdiocese.

In 2005, the archdiocese says, it received an allegation of child sexual abuse against Bevan that dates back to 1974. The archdiocese says it reported it to the Frederick County State's Attorney and conducted its own investigation into the claim. The archdiocese determined that there was not sufficient evidence at the time to remove him.

The archdiocese's independent review board, which reviews the church's handling of child sexual abuse allegations, affirmed its handling of the 2005 allegation and the civil authorities in Frederick County did not pursue the matter, according to the archdiocese.

Thomas Bevan was ordained in 1963. In addition to his assignments at St. Patrick in Cumberland and St. John in Frederick, he was associate pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middle River from 1963 to 1974 and pastor of St. Mark in Fallston from 1979 to 1991. He was a temporary administrator at St. Mary in Cumberland from 1991 to 1992 and at St. Patrick in Mount Savage in 1992.

While at Mount Carmel, he taught at the parish high school; while at St. John, he taught at Mount St. Mary's. He also has been executive director of the Secretariat for Priestly Life & Ministry for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (now the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, and has worked in the archdiocese's Office of Clergy Education.

The archdiocese is asking anyone with information relevant to the allegations against Bevan to contact its Office of Child and Youth Protection at 410-547-5599.

In its statement, it also urges anyone with knowledge of any child sexual abuse to report it immediately to civil authorities. If clergy or other church personnel are suspected of committing the abuse, the archdiocese asks that those with knowledge also call the Archdiocesan Office of Child and Youth Protection Hotline at 1-866-417-7469.


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