Rev. Terry W. Specht of Arlington, Va. Diocese, Placed on Leave Pending Investigation of Sexual Misconduct Allegation
April 19, 2012
A priest with the Diocese of Arlington has been placed on administrative leave pending investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a male minor in the late 1990s, according to a statement by the Diocese.
Rev. Terry W. Specht denies the accusation. The statement indicates that the investigation is in its initial phase. No final determination has yet been made regarding the allegation.
The Diocese has received no other allegations of misconduct against Rev. Specht. According to the statement, Specht, like all priests, diocesan employees and volunteers who work with children, underwent an official background check early in his tenure.
In keeping with the Diocese of Arlington's child protection policy, the Fairfax County Police Department was notified when the diocese received the allegation against Specht. The statement indicates that the diocese is cooperating fully with law enforcement.
The majority lay-person Diocesan Review Board, which advises Arlington Bishop Paul S. Loverde and reviews allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clerics, has been told of the allegation. The Board will continue to review the information from the investigation. Under diocesan policy, any priest with an allegation of abuse or misconduct with a minor that reaches a final determination of credibility is permanently removed from ministry.
Rev. Specht served as a parochial vicar at St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax from 1996 to 2000, as chaplain and assistant principal at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax from 2000 to 2004, as the Director of the diocesan Office of Child Protection and Safety from 2004 to 2011, and as administrator and pastor of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale since 2007.
Bishop Loverde said in a statement, "Any allegation of abuse deepens the pain felt by all Catholics, and particularly survivors of abuse. We are committed to full cooperation with law enforcement regarding this allegation, and I have directed an independent investigator to review the actions and decisions made by Fr. Specht during his tenure as Director of Child Protection.".
Bishop Loverde has appointed Rev. Paul F. deLadurantaye as parochial administrator of Holy Spirit Church.
The diocese encourages anyone who knows of any information related to this case, or of any misconduct or abuse on the part of any cleric or employee of the diocese, to notify civil authorities, as well as to reach out to the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinators, Patricia Mudd, MSW, ACSW, at 703-841-2537, and Adlin deCardi, MA, at 703-841-2530. The Fairfax County Police Department asks individuals with any information to contact them at 703-246-7854.