Area Priest on Leave in Sex Claim
Archdiocese Reviews Misconduct Allegation Filed against Pastor in Canton Township
By Edward L. Cardenas
March 1, 2004
Canton Township — The 59-year-old pastor of St. Thomas a'Becket Parish in Canton Township has been placed on administrative leave as the Archdiocese of Detroit investigates an allegation of sexual misconduct filed against him.
The Rev. C. Richard Kelly, who has been pastor of St. Thomas for 11 years, was placed on leave Thursday by the archdiocese for an allegation of sexual misconduct with a boy during the early years of his ministry.
Ned McGrath, archdiocese spokesman, declined to reveal details of the allegations except to say that a complaint initially was filed with the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office. "They declined to do anything with it because of the statute of limitations," McGrath said. "We have not come to a determination of guilt. There is an allegation ... we have to take caution."
This allegation against Kelly is the first since the Archdiocese of Detroit released an in-depth report on clergy sexual abuse Feb. 5. The report also was included in a national survey of abuse committed by the members of the church.
The Archdiocese of Detroit report found credible cases against 48 priests ? 15 of whom are deceased and 18 of whom are members of religious orders ? and two deacons, one of whom is deceased. All the incidents happened over the last 54 years, the report found.
Kelly, who was ordained in 1970, first served as associate pastor at St. Mary of Redford in Detroit from 1970-73. He held the same position at St. Thomas Aquinas in Detroit from 1974-78. He became pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Ecorse from 1978-92 and came to St. Thomas a'Becket in Canton in 1993.
He also served in the Michigan Army National Guard for 12 years, which included a tour of duty as chaplain of the 210th military police unit in Saudi Arabia for the 1991 Persian Gulf War.
"My feeling as a parishioner is that a good majority of the community supports Father Kelly and supports the process," said Scott Redding of Canton, who credited Kelly with attracting him to St. Thomas four years ago. "We really liked the family and community atmosphere at St. Thomas. A lot of that came from Father Kelly."
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