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  Former Deacon Faces Abuse Suit

By Joan LaGuardia
News-Press
October 30, 2003

A Bonita Springs man has been accused of sexually abusing two boys when he was an ordained Roman Catholic deacon in Toledo, Ohio, in the 1970s.

Glen Shrimplin, 69, a retired dentist who left the post in 1987, denies the allegations.

"I certainly do," said Shrimplin, who has lived in Bonita Springs for two years. "I am totally at a loss. I am shocked."

The accusations were made Tuesday in a lawsuit filed in Lucas County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court against the Diocese of Toledo.

Sally Oberski, director of communications for the diocese, said Shrimplin became a deacon in 1974. He worked at Immaculate Conception, St. Catherine's and Corpus Christi churches in Toledo during the 1970s when the alleged abuse occurred. The suit was filed by David Barciz of Raleigh, N.C., and an unidentified man. Both are now 44.

A deacon is an ordained man in the first of three stages of preparation for the priesthood. Some deacons, including Shrimplin, choose not to advance to full priesthood. They can hold other full-time jobs. Shrimplin removed himself from the ministry in 1987, Oberski said.

Then in 2002, former Bishop James R. Hoffman, who died in February, asked the Vatican to formally remove him from ministry.

Shrimplin said he left voluntarily because he did not agree with things that were being said or done. He declined to answer additional questions on that reason.

Oberski said Hoffman received a letter from Barciz in May 2002 detailing the abuse allegations.

She said the diocese reported the information to the Lucas County prosecutor. Because Shrimplin was living in Bonita Springs, Hoffman also informed Bishop John Nevins of the local Diocese of Venice.

Wednesday, Gail McGrath, spokeswoman for the Southwest Florida diocese, said Nevins received a letter from Hoffman in October 2002.

Oberski said there are 19 lawsuits pending against the Diocese of Toledo for alleged sexual misconduct by priests and deacons.

Shrimplin said he has "tremendous support" in the face of the lawsuit.

"The lawsuit is not in this community. I don't understand why you are asking," he told The News-Press.

Contact: jlaguardia@news-press.com

 
 

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