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  Bishop Addresses Arrest of Priest on Clergy Sexual Abuse

Diocese of Brooklyn Press Release
October 25, 2005

In a letter to the parishioners of St. Ephrem's Church, Dyker Heights, Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Diocese of Brooklyn said he had withdrawn the faculties of a resident priest from Ghana arrested Oct. 18 for "inappropriate behavior with a young lady" in the parish.

The Bishop said the priest, Father Anthony Ocloo, 45, no longer resides in St. Ephrem's rectory, where he had stayed since January, and may not function publicly as a priest. He was in this country at the direction of his bishop of the Diocese of Keta-Akatsi to study for a master's degree in business administration at St. John's University.

Msgr. Peter V. Kain, St. Ephrem's pastor, read the letter at the five weekend Masses Oct. 22-23.

In the letter, Bishop DiMarzio said the Kings District Attorney's Office was notified "immediately" after the allegation was received by the diocesan telephone "hot line." Detectives from the District Attorney's Office arrested Father Ocloo at the rectory.

The Bishop said that diocesan and parish representatives "are cooperating fully" with law enforcement agencies investigating the allegation.

The information from the toll-free number was also given to the diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator, Sister Ellen Patricia Finn, O.P., to offer assistance to the person who made the allegation and her family, the Bishop noted.

Bishop DiMarzio said that Msgr. Kain "has been most supportive and has once again given evidence of his pastoral sensitivity and concern."

In addition to meeting with the family, the pastor addressed the issue with 250 parents of students in the parish school and religious education program, with the school faculty and with the parish staff.

"This has been one of the most painful times for me in my 40 years in the priesthood," Msgr. Kain said.

After the weekend Masses, Sister Ellen Patricia and two members of the diocesan healing team, Sister Patricia Hudson, C.S.J., and Alfred Wassler, were available at the church to speak with parishioners who wished to discuss the incident.

Bishop DiMarzio wrote that the diocesan response to the allegation complied with the mandates of the U.S. bishops' 2002 "Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People" and the accompanying "Essential Norms."

"I wish to remind all parishioners," he said, "that anyone who wishes to report an incident of inappropriate behavior with a minor" should call the "hot line" number: (888) 634-4499. "Callers are responded to professionally and with courtesy," he said.

The Bishop concluded his letter by asking parishioners to pray "for the persons affected by this disturbing incident. . .that they will feel the healing touch of Christ at a difficult time in their lives."

 
 

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