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  Priest Takes Leave
Rev. Rick Boyd in Counseling

By Stephen J. Lee
Grand Forks Herald
August 30, 2003

The Catholic priest who resigned this summer from parishes in Bagley and Fosston, Minn., after concerns were raised by a few parishioners has taken a leave of absence, a church official said.

The Rev. Rick Boyd, 52, has taken "an indefinite leave of absence," said Monsignor Roger Grundhaus, vicar general of the Catholic Diocese of Crookston.

"He was not placed on leave; he requested it because he's finding the emotional turmoil too much to deal with," Grundhaus said. "He's going into counseling and making a retreat and has asked that his location not be disclosed."

Resignation

Boyd resigned in mid-July from St. Mary's in Fosston and St. Joseph's in Bagley after a handful of parishioners raised concerns centered on his 1984 conviction for possessing child pornography.

He has been a priest in the diocese for more than 20 years.

Cathy Godtland, Fosston, and others said they saw troubling behaviors in Boyd that made them wonder if he was still using pornography and pursuing relationships with teenage boys.

Boyd denied any wrongdoing but resigned as the parishes' pastor July 17, saying his credibility had been too damaged by "gossip and innuendo."

Investigation

A preliminary investigation by the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office - including looking at two computers Boyd had used and at Internet Web sites he had built - ended with a decision not to seek any charges against Boyd. Investigators, however, did find legal adult pornography on Web sites set up by Boyd, a sheriff's deputy said.

Church officials said there has never been any evidence that Boyd victimized anyone.

Godtland and six other parishioners met earlier this month with Bishop Victor Balke, Grundhaus and other diocesan officials to lay out their concerns. They provided the church officials with paper copies of pornographic images taken from Boyd's Web sites. The unusual meeting led to a joint statement about the diocese's pledge to handle such situations better that included an apology from Balke to the concerned parishioners.

Shortly after diocesan officials learned of the images on the Web sites, many of them were dismantled and removed from the Internet, apparently by Boyd.

For several weeks after his resignation, Boyd lived in the diocesan chancery in Crookston and said Mass regularly at Mount St. Benedict and a nearby nursing home, Grundhaus said.

Godtland and other concerned parishioners continue to meet with the diocese's Sexual Misconduct Policy Review Committee. Their goal is to choose an independent investigator to make sure there are no victims and to evaluate the way the diocese handled the situation, Godtland said.

No announcement of a priest to replace Boyd in the two parishes has been made.

 
 

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