Ex-priest Charged in Sexual Abuse from 30 Years Ago

By Brian Shane
The Daily Times
October 3, 2009

OCEAN CITY -- A North Carolina man is newly accused of sexually abusing a child in Ocean City more than 30 years ago.

Michael Lowell Barnes, 64, was arrested in the western North Carolina town of Maggie Valley. Detective Archie Shuler of the Maggie Valley Police said Barnes was located at his residence and taken into custody on a fugitive warrant.

Ocean City Police said they received allegations of abuse earlier this year and that the incidents took place between 1977 and 1982, when the alleged victim was a minor.

Barnes has been charged with child abuse, sexual abuse, sexual abuse course of conduct and second- and third-degree sex offense. He's being held on $400,000 bond and is awaiting extradition to Maryland.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore told The Associated Press that Barnes was the associate pastor of an Essex parish during the time of the alleged abuse and that he left the priesthood in 1988.

The AP reported that a Baltimore County man in his 40s filed a lawsuit against Barnes in June, alleging abuse over the same time period. The lawsuit said the abuse occurred mostly in Delaware. It was not clear whether the criminal charges were related to the same alleged victim.

Ocean City Police spokesman Pfc. Mike Levy said police have no further comment due to the ongoing investigation and the sensitive nature of the allegations. The charging documents pertaining to Barnes in District Court remained sealed Friday because he had not been served with them.


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