Priest Who Served in Loudoun County Placed on Leave Pending a Sexual Misconduct Investigation
By Veronike Collazo
April 11, 2018
Rev. Michael R. Duesterhaus, a priest of the Catholic Diocese of Arlington who previously served at churches in Loudoun County, was placed on administrative leave in March pending investigation of an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.
Duesterhaus is on leave from his assignment as parochial vicar at Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Winchester.
The alleged incidents occurred between 2001 and 2004, and Duesterhaus denies the accusation, according to a statement by the Catholic Diocese of Arlington.
The Diocese is fully cooperating with law enforcement and will continue to do so.
According to the statement, Duesterhaus — like all priests, diocesan employees and volunteers who work with children in the Diocese of Arlington — underwent criminal background checks during his service.
This case is being investigated by the Stafford County Sheriff’s Office. Two days after announcing Duesterhaus' administrative leave, the Diocese learned the Fairfax County Police Department also has an active investigation into the priest.
Duesterhaus stated to the Diocese that he is fully cooperating with the investigations.
In addition to serving in Winchester, Duesterhaus also served in Loudoun at St. Theresa Church in Ashburn from 1999-2000 and Corpus Christi Church in South Riding from 2014-2015.
The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office said it has not received any allegations about Duesterhaus.
Duesterhaus' previous assignments with the Diocese are as follows: As a transitional deacon at St. Anthony Church in Falls Church (1990-91); as parochial vicar of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale (1991-96), St. Theresa Church in Ashburn (1999-2000), and St. Michael Church in Annandale (2000-01); as parochial administrator of St. William of York Church in Stafford (2001-04); as parochial vicar at St. Patrick Church in Fredericksburg (2004), St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Lake Ridge (2006-08), St. Matthew Church in Fredericksburg (2008), Our Lady of Angels Church in Woodbridge (2009-11 and 2012-14), Corpus Christi Church in South Riding (2014-15), St. Timothy Church (2015-18), and most recently at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Winchester (2018). He has also served outside the diocese as a military chaplain (1996-99, 2004-06, 2008-09, and 2011-12).
The Diocese encourages anyone with information related to this case, or of any misconduct or abuse on the part of any cleric or employee of the Diocese, to notify law enforcement, as well as to reach out to the diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 703-841-2530.
The Stafford County Sheriff’s Office is also asking for information at 540-658-4400, and Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.