Priest on Leave after Claims of Misconduct
By Mike Martindale
The Detroit News
October 8, 2012
A retired priest has been put on administrative leave following allegations of sexual misconduct with minors dating back 19 years, the Archdiocese of Detroit confirmed Sunday.
The Rev. Loren O'Dea, 83, retired in 1997 from Our Lady of Sorrows Church in Farmington, where he had been an associate pastor since 1993 — the same year he was ordained, according to archdiocesan records.
The administrative action, which took place Friday, restricts O'Dea from performing any public ministry or presenting himself as a priest.
"It is always sad when anything like this happens," said archdiocesan spokesman Ned McGrath. "We will keep everyone in our prayers."
McGrath declined to elaborate on the allegations other than to refer reporters to the website of the archdiocese, which said the action comes because of "two substantive allegations of sexual misconduct with minors involving Father O'Dea which date back just prior to his ordination. …"
The allegations, received by the archdiocese in recent weeks, were turned over to the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office for review of what, if any, criminal action may have taken place.
An archdiocesan investigation found complaints to be of "sufficient substance to require the placement of restrictions" on O'Dea, according to the archdiocese.
O'Dea was educated at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit; St. John Provincial Seminary, Plymouth; Wayne State University; and the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, outreach director for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, issued the following statement:
"Another Detroit priest has been ousted due to credible child sex abuse allegations," Dorris wrote. "We are grateful that this victim or these victims have stepped forward. When victims stay silent, nothing changes. But when victims find the courage to take action, there's at least a chance for prevention, healing and justice. …
"We believe the archbishop should have disclosed the allegations when they were first made, not weeks later. And we believe he should disclose now how long it took his staff to 'substantiate them.'"