Diocese Confirms Former Priest Removed Due to Abuse Allegations

Associated Press State & Local Wire
April 28, 2002

A former pastor who was removed in 1993 following allegations that he sexually abused a minor currently holds an administrative job with the Archdiocese of Anchorage, church officials said.

When the Rev. Timothy M. Crowley was removed as pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, officials with the Diocese of Lansing would only say it was for "grievous misconduct of a sexual nature" that occurred five years before.

After retired Bishop Kenneth J. Povish said last week that Crowley's misconduct "was a one-time thing that involved one boy," the diocese confirmed the reason Crowley was removed, the Ann Arbor News reported Sunday.

No criminal charges were filed and Crowley accepted the Anchorage job, which he still holds, in 1995. A church spokesman told the newspapers he says Mass, but has no contact with children or teen-agers.

Povish said the misconduct was unrelated to Crowley's ministry in Ann Arbor. Crowley, 52, declined to discuss the allegations and denied being removed from the Ann Arbor parish.

"I resigned for personal reasons," Crowley said.

Washtenaw County Prosecutor Brian Mackie said he didn't recall whether his office had investigated Crowley. But he said that his staff recently asked the Diocese of Lansing for its information on all cases of sexual abuse in Washtenaw County.

The Anchorage archdiocese, which was told by Povish why Crowley was no longer with the Ann Arbor church, conducted an investigation before accepting Crowley.

"We had lengthy discussions with Povish and people Tim was in therapy with, and we had our own consultants do a psychological review of him," said the Rev. Steven C. Moore, vicar general and chancellor of the Anchorage archdiocese.

"A committee reviewed all this information, and ... we decided it would be possible for Father Crowley to be in administrative ministry in the archdiocesan offices. He has been in ministry here for six years, and it has been fine," Moore said.

The case is among a growing number coming to light amid intense public scrutiny about how the Roman Catholic church has dealt with sexual-abuse allegations against its priests.

Also Sunday, The Jackson Citizen Patriot reported that the Rev. James F. Rapp, who was told to leave Jackson's Lumen Christi High School in 1987 following allegations he molested a student, was later sent to prison in Oklahoma for sexual abuse.

Rapp, a former religion teacher and wrestling coach at Lumen Christi, started serving two consecutive 20-year sentences on Dec. 28, 1999, in the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. He was convicted of sexually abusing two teen-age boys in Duncan, Okla., where he was a church pastor.

Now 61 and in prison, Rapp declined to be interviewed by the Citizen Patriot. He has been suspended by his religious order, the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales, and cannot perform sacramental duties.


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