Omaha Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse 40 Years Later
April 30, 2012
Omaha's Archdiocese said it is investigating allegations of sexual abuse against a pastor.
Officials said the accusations date back 40 years.
The Rev. Franklin Dvorak is the pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church at 114th and Fort streets.
Dvorak was placed on administrative leave while an investigation is completed.
The allegations surfaced at the end of March that Dvorak sexually abused a female student from 1970 to 1972 while he was at a parish in Norfolk, Neb. He has been pastor at St. Elizabeth's since 2007.
One church member said she does not believe the accusations. Andrea Dai said she was stunned when she heard Dvorak was placed on leave.
"I was astonished because I remember listening to his homilies, and he is, honestly, a really good man," Dai said.
Dai, like many other parishioners at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton and St. James, which shares kindergarten to eighth-grade classrooms, heard the news over the weekend. She said her whole family has been talking about it since.
"They were talking about it on the phone, and I came out of my room and asked what was going on, and she said, 'Father Dvorak is accused of sexual abuse,' and I'm, like, 'Was that a joke?'" Dai said.
But in a statement, Archdiocesan Chancellor Deacon Tim McNeil wrote that Dvorak is accused of sexually abusing a female student from 1970 to 1972.
Dvorak was ordained in 1970 and worked his first parish at Sacred Heart in Norfolk.
McNeil said an 11-member review board, including child care experts, law enforcement, attorneys, clergy and mental health experts found the allegations to be credible.
The accusations were also reported to law enforcement. So far, though, Dvorak has not been charged.
Dai still questions why they're looking into her pastor's past at all.
"I think it's ridiculous that it comes up after this long. Why would it take that long to come out?" Dai asked.
Omaha's archdiocese must refer this case to a group in Rome who has the responsibility of resolving sexual abuse allegations involving minors. They will review the case and decide what the next step might be.