Arrested Ex-Priest Worked in Detroit
Officials Reviewing Files of Man Later Convicted of Child Molestation

By Kim Kozlowski
Detroit News
May 30, 2003

Detroit -- Archdiocese of Detroit officials say they are unaware of any abuse allegation locally against a former priest who was arrested in California Thursday on charges that he molested an 11-year-old boy three decades ago.

However, after learning late Thursday that Harold Charles Depp, 72, was arrested in the California case, they said they would review their files today.

Depp was ordained in 1959 and served at St. Linus in Dearborn, St. Athanasius in Roseville and Madonna Parish in Detroit.

One Sunday in 1963, he left the church and never came back.

"He simply walked away one Sunday," Monsignor Walter Hurley, coordinator of the archdiocese's response to the clergy abuse scandal, said.

Within the past year, five Archdiocese of Detroit priests were charged with sexual assaults and another 26 would have faced prosecution if not for legal time limits. Of the 26, all but three were retired from the priesthood or already had been removed.

Depp's departure from Detroit in 1963 was years before the alleged molestation of a California boy that investigators say began in 1971 and continued into the following year while he was staying at the Prince of Peace Abbey in Oceanside, Calif.

The alleged victim, now in his 40s, contacted authorities two months ago after learning Depp had not registered as a sex offender and was working around children, police said.

On Thursday, the California attorney general's office filed a 42-count complaint charging Depp with child molestation in San Diego County.

Depp left Oceanside in the early 1970s. For some time he lived in Alaska, where he was convicted in 1982 of molesting a child, according to the complaint.

He served an eight-year sentence and then returned to California, police said.


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