|Former Auburn Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minor
By Charley Hannagan
November 17, 2009
Auburn, NY -- Catholic churches in Auburn this weekend reached out to possible victims of a priest, whose alleged sexual abuse of a minor was found to be "credible" by a church investigation.
"An allegation concerning sexual abuse of a minor dating back to the mid-1970s against Rev. Conrad Sundholm, a retired priest now living in Florida, has been determined to be credible," reads the statement from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.
The announcement was made this weekend by pastors from the pulpits of churches where Sundholm had served.
Sundholm, 80, retired to the St. Petersburg, Fla., diocese in 1999, after serving in six parishes in the Diocese of Rochester. He was ordained in 1955.
While in Auburn, Sundholm served as a priest at St. Mary's from 1965-1971, and at Holy Family/St. Aloysius from 1982-1999. During his time in Auburn, Sundholm oversaw the renovation of Holy Family Church on North Street.
Rochester's Bishop Matthew Clark has ordered Sundholm not to act as a priest or perform any sacraments, Masses, weddings, funerals and other public ministries.
The church used independent experts to conduct an investigation of the alleged abuse, and informed the Monroe County District Attorney about the allegations, said Doug Mandelaro, speaking this morning for the diocese in an e-mail.
The investigation was conducted by a private firm that uses retired FBI and police experts, he said. Their work is reviewed by the diocese's review board, which includes retired law enforcement officials, child advocates and mental health professionals, Mandelaro said.
The board then offers a recommendation to the bishop on the credibility of the complaint, he said.
The finding will be sent to the Vatican for final disposition, he said. The Vatican can decide to take further action, with the maximum penalty being removal from the priesthood, Mandelaro said.
The alleged abuse occurred when Sundholm was a pastor at St. Salome Church in Irondequoit. He served there from 1974-1982.
The announcement read at Mass included a request that anyone with additional information come forward. So far, no one has, Mandelaro said.
The Diocese of Rochester said it encourages victims of abuse to always report it to civil authorities. To report a case of possible sexual abuse, or to receive help and guidance from the diocese, victims may contact Barbara Pedeville, 585-328-3228, ext. 1215, or toll free at 1-800-388-7177, ext. 1215, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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