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  Detroit Archdiocese Removes Priest
Officials Cite Allegations of Decades-Old Misconduct

By Alexa Capeloto
Detroit Free Press
April 3, 2002

For the second time in a week, a metro Detroit Catholic priest has been removed from his parish because of what church officials say are credible allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Gary Bueche, a 32-year priest who once recruited candidates for the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Detroit, resigned Monday as pastor of SS. John and Paul Catholic Church in Washington Township. Bueche, 57, is restricted from active ministry but might not be disciplined further, in part because the alleged misconduct happened decades ago, according to the archdiocese.

The archdiocese would not detail the complaint but said the alleged abuse occurred during Bueche's early years as a priest. He was ordained in the Detroit Archdiocese in 1970 and became chaplain of Bishop Gallagher High School in Harper Woods soon after.

"At this preliminary phase, the facts and the time elapsed in this case would suggest that, at present, further action is not anticipated," archdiocesan spokesman Ned McGrath said in a statement Tuesday.

Bueche's whereabouts were unknown Tuesday, and a SS. John and Paul staff member who answered the phonesaid she would not discuss the case. The staff learned of the pastor's resignation Monday evening.

The Rev. John Hall, a senior priest in the archdiocese, confirmed that he will become temporary administrator of the Macomb County parish.

Bueche's removal comes a week after the Rev. Dennis Duggan stepped down from two west-side Detroit parishes because of a complaint phoned in March 26 to the archdiocese's sex-abuse hot line. Duggan was pastor of St. Suzanne and administrator of Our Lady Gate of Heaven.

Richard Laskos, another archdiocesan spokesman, said Bueche and Duggan were removed from public ministry because the church deemed the accusationscredible. He said the archdiocese is investigating.

Laskos said Bueche has led at least three metro area parishes: SS. John and Paul since 1998, St. Frances Cabrini in Allen Park from 1988 to 1998 and St. Germaine in St. Clair Shores from 1982 to 1986.

Bueche was chaplain at Bishop Gallagher from 1973 to 1977, then worked as an auditor for the archdiocesan marriage tribunal until 1982. In addition, he recruited prospective priests as the archdiocesan director of pastoral vocations from 1986 to 1988 and has specialized in ministering to people with disabilities, Laskos said.

The sex-abuse scandal has enveloped other Michigan priests accused of recent or past sexual misconduct. The Rev. Gerald Shirilla was removed from an Alpena parish last month, the Rev. Vincent DeLorenzo resigned from a Burton parish, and an unnamed priest is under investigation by the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office.

OTHER DEVELOPMENTS: A New York priest was arraigned Tuesday on charges he sexually abused a Massachusetts boy from 1973 to 1980.

The Rev. Romano Ferraro of the Diocese of Brooklyn is expected to be extradited to Middlesex County, Mass., where he was indicted last week on rape and sex-abuse charges.

Ferrarohas been suspended from priestly duties for the last 12 or 13 years because of a separate allegation of sexual misconduct in Queens in 1988, according to a diocesan spokesman.

 
 

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