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  Accused Monsignor Quits
Luque Leaves Diocese Amid Abuse Allegations

By Felisa Cardona
San Bernardino Sun
March 1, 2003

Monsignor Peter Luque has resigned from the Diocese of San Bernardino while still under investigation on allegations he molested children, diocesan officials said Saturday.

In a letter read to parishioners this weekend at St. Edward's Parish inCorona, Luque said he was leaving the parish.

"Unfortunately, the investigation being conducted by law enforcementis not being brought to a speedy conclusion,' Luque wrote. "Our parishioners need to heal and progress toward God's kingdom without the uncertainty of my return to you. When the matter is closed, I will personally visit with you to bid farewell and publicly discuss my future ministry.' Luque, 67, has worked in the diocese, which covers San Bernardino andRiverside counties, for 40 years. He spent 12 of those years as parish pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church and school in San Bernardino.

The diocese gave Luque's name to the San Bernardino Police Departmentin March 2002 after reviewing their files for alleged misconduct by priests.

Diocesan officials declined to discuss the nature of the allegationsagainst Luque, how many children were involved or when the allegations surfaced.

The Rev. Howard Lincoln, diocesan spokesman, said Luque decided onWednesday to voluntarily resign.

"He felt it was in the best interest of the parish,' Lincoln said.

Luque is still on paid administrative leave from the diocese and mayreturn to work if the investigation clears him.

"That would be a decision that the bishop would have to make,'Lincoln said.

Parishioners at St. Edward were informed that they would be gettingthree full-time priests on July 1 from a religious confraternity of diocesan priests called Operarios del Reino de Cristo.

In a letter from Bishop Gerald Barnes, parishioners were told heaccepted Luque's resignation with a heavy heart.

"With God's help, I know that St. Edward's Parish will perseverethrough this time of testing as together we heal the Body of Christ, Our Church,' Barnes wrote.

 
 

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