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  Ex-Boys Town Priest Facing Suit is Placed on Leave

By Todd Cooper
Omaha World Herald
October 6, 2005

Catholic church officials Wednesday placed a priest on administrative leave from his Missouri parish while he is investigated on allegations that he sexually abused a Boys Town student in the mid-1980s.

The Rev. Richard Colbert was fired from Boys Town in 1988. He has been working as a priest for parishes in Missouri — most recently at a Warsaw, Mo., parish — since his departure from Boys Town.

Boys Town officials have not given a reason for Colbert's termination. They have said, however, that the Rev. Val Peter, executive director at the time, acted swiftly and decisively in firing Colbert.

Mark Soucier, spokesman for Missouri's Diocese of Jefferson City, said he could not put a time frame on Colbert's leave, except to say that it would be effective until an investigation is completed into Darren Boudreau's allegations against Colbert.

After learning of a lawsuit filed last week, Soucier said, Bishop John Gaydos of the Jefferson City Diocese placed Colbert on leave.

In the lawsuit, filed in Douglas County (Neb.) District Court, Boudreau alleged that Colbert developed "unhealthy, psychologically dependent relationships" with male students to "recruit them for sex."

Boudreau, 34, said Colbert performed sex acts on him and made him perform sex acts on the priest more than 25 times while Boudreau was a student at Boys Town.

Colbert has returned to his religious order, the Society of the Precious Blood, in Liberty, Mo. He served a mission church in Cole Camp, Mo., while leading the Warsaw parish.

Colbert has not responded to phone calls or e-mails seeking comment.

In 2003, Colbert told The World-Herald that he left Boys Town after an investigation into an inappropriate, but not sexual, relationship with a student. Colbert said the departure was mutually agreed upon among Boys Town, the order and himself. Boys Town has said Colbert's removal was "involuntary."

Boudreau said he was not the student referred to in that investigation. He said he has suffered from severe depression since the alleged assaults — a disability that prevented him from suing until now.

 
 

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