Mansfield-area Priest Placed on Leave; Faces 25-year-old Claim of Sexual Abuse of Minor
By Emily Mills
Mansfield News Journal
October 14, 2018
|File photo of Nelson Beaver|
A Mansfield-area priest has been placed on leave after an allegation was recently made of sexual abuse of a minor more than 25 years ago, the Diocese of Toledo announced Saturday.
Bishop Daniel E. Thomas said in a press release Father Nelson Beaver, a priest of the Diocese of Toledo, has been placed on administrative leave, effective immediately.
Beaver is the pastor of Resurrection Parish, 2600 Lexington Ave., Lexington, and St. Mary of the Snows Parish, 1630 Ashland Road, Madison Township. The allegation was not made in relation to those parish assignments, according to the press release.
Beaver is no longer residing at those parishes while on administrative leave, according to the press release. Beaver denied the allegation, the only one that's been made against him, according to the Diocese of Toledo.
"We take every allegation of abuse of a minor with the utmost seriousness," Thomas said in the press release. "Administrative leave is a first, precautionary step that safeguards and protects children while we start a canonical process of determining whether the allegation can be substantiated and whether a priest should remain in ministry."
The allegation was reported to civil authorities, per diocesan policy. The diocese also extended an offer of pastoral care to the person who reported the allegation, according to the press release.
The bishop's representative, the dean of the area, will inform parishioners and offer all weekend masses at Resurrection and St. Mary of the Snows parishes, according to the press release. Counselors are also being made available at all weekend masses for those who need support.
In accordance with the Policy for the Protection of Minors and Young People, while on administrative leave, Beaver cannot exercise public priestly ministry, administer any of the sacraments, wear clerical attire or present himself as a priest, according to the press release.
According to a 2011 News Journal article, Beaver grew up in a Lutheran family and attended Capital University and Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Columbus before going to Yale University's Divinity School.
Beaver was ordained into the Lutheran ministry in 1969 and served as pastor of First English Lutheran Church in Gibsonburg until 1972, the News Journal reported in 2011. On Oct. 19, 1972, when he was 30, Beaver was received into full communion with the Catholic Church.
Beaver has served Resurrection Parish and St. Mary of the Snows since 2010, according to News Journal records.
The press release stated administrative leave is a precautionary measure while the allegation is investigated and is not a final determination of guilt.
According to the press release, if law enforcement chooses not to pursue the matter, the allegation will be independently investigated and presented to the Review Board, per diocesan policy.
Any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by a priest, deacon, staff member or volunteer affiliated with the Diocese of Toledo should first be reported to local law enforcement where the abuse is alleged to have occurred. Allegations should also be reported to the diocesan victim assistance coordinator at 419-214-4880.
The Diocese of Toledo, which serves around 320,000 Catholics in 122 parishes, includes Allen, Crawford, Defiance, Erie, Fulton, Hancock, Henry, Huron, Lucas, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Richland, Sandusky, Seneca, Van Wert, Williams, Wood and Wyandot counties.