Area priest accused of sexual abuse involving minors
Norwalk OH Reflector
May 23, 2015
A Catholic priest in Toledo has been placed on administrative leave after a claim was made alleging he violated the diocese's policy on the sexual abuse of minors.
The Rev. Samuel Punnoor was reported to Lucas County Children Services by the Diocese of Toledo on May 6 while he was visiting India.
The Toledo diocese released the following statement Friday:
Bishop Daniel E. Thomas today placed Reverend Samuel Punnoor on administrative leave following an allegation that he violated "Appendix A: Diocese of Toledo Code of Pastoral Conduct" of the diocesan To Protect and to Heal: Policy on Sexual Abuse of Minors. Upon learning May 6, 2015, of the allegation against Father Punnoor, the Diocese of Toledo immediately reported it the same day to Lucas County Children Services. At that time, Father Punnoor was visiting his home diocese in India from April 26-May 21. Therefore, it was only upon his return that Bishop Thomas and diocesan officials were able to meet with him today.
The Diocese of Toledo has never before received any such allegation regarding Father Punnoor. The Diocese of Toledo is cooperating fully with Lucas County Children Services as it conducts its investigation.
While on administrative leave, Father Punnoor is not permitted to exercise public ministry, administer any of the Sacraments, wear clerical attire or present himself publicly as a priest pending the outcome of ongoing civil and ecclesiastical investigations.
Father Punnoor, a priest of the Diocese of Pathanamthitta in India, has served in the Diocese of Toledo since April 2011. Upon his arrival, he produced a letter of suitability from the Bishop of his home diocese, passed the necessary background checks and successfully completed the required safe environment training. He has served as Parochial Vicar at Most Blessed Sacrament Parish, Toledo (April 2011-July 2012) and Corpus Christi University Parish, Toledo (July 2012-June 2013) and as Parochial Vicar at Saint Joseph Parish, Maumee since July 1, 2013. In addition, Father Punnoor has served as a faculty member at Central Catholic High School, Toledo (September 2011-May 2012) and assisted periodically with Masses at Historic Church of St. Patrick, Toledo and Immaculate Conception Church, Toledo (May 2012-June 2013).
Notice regarding the allegation against Father Punnoor was communicated today to the parents/guardians of the students of Most Blessed Sacrament and Saint Joseph schools, as well as Central Catholic High School. An announcement will also be made at Masses this weekend (May 23-24) at Most Blessed Sacrament, Corpus Christi University and Saint Joseph parishes. While on administrative leave, Father Punnoor is not residing at Saint Joseph Parish.
The Diocese of Toledo continues to be committed to ensuring the protection of children and providing a safe environment for all young people as well as ensuring the dignity and integrity of the priesthood.
The Diocese of Toledo asks for prayers for all those involved in this matter. If you have any concerns or information to report, contact Lucas County Children Services at 419-213-2273 and/or Toledo Diocesan Case Manager Mr. Frank DiLallo at 419-243-2150.