|Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse
By Freda Savana
Bucks County Courier Times
September 29, 2009
A Montgomery County priest with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia has been accused of sexual abuse more than 30 years ago when he was a teacher at St. John Neumann High School in Philadelphia in the late 1970s.
Monsignor Michael Flood, 71, pastor of Saint Luke the Evangelist Parish in Glenside, was named late last week in a civil lawsuit filed in Delaware, according to the archdiocese. He denies the allegation.
After telling parishioners about the matter over the weekend, Flood asked his parish to pray for the person who made the allegation.
The lawsuit does not identify the plaintiff, but describes him as a student at the high school. Officials at the archdiocese said there have been no other allegations against the priest.
Flood is continuing as pastor while the lawsuit moves forward. In light of the suit, he has voluntarily removed himself from any unsupervised ministry to young people, according to the archdiocese.
David Clohessy, national director of St. Louis-based Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, challenged the decision to allow Flood to continue as pastor.
"He should be suspended," said Clohessy. "It's the only responsible thing to do."
The victim advocate said the Catholic Church pledged to address any priest "credibly accused" of sexual abuse after the scandal over rampant sexual abuse was exposed in 2002.
The record shows "very few of these allegation prove to be false," said Clohessy
When the archdiocese receives a historical allegation against a clergy member it's normally reported to public authorities and the church launches its own investigation, in accordance with church policy. However, in Flood's case, the archdiocese said it can't conduct its own investigation because the person who made the allegation is not named and because it's a civil matter in Delaware.
Clohessy said the archdiocese "should be begging anyone who can prove or disprove the allegation to come forward."
Ordained in 1968, Flood has served at numerous parishes in the archdiocese, including St. Rose of Lima in North Wales, as well as Cardinal O'Hara, St. John Neumann and St. Maria Goretti high schools.
The victim assistance office for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia can be reached at 1-888-800-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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