Bishop Burbidge addresses outcome of investigation regarding Fr. Ronald Escalante

Diocese of Arlington, Virginia

On Saturday, September 28, 2019, Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Arlington issued the following letter to parishioners of Saint Francis de Sales Parish in Purcellville, Virginia regarding the outcome of the investigation related to Father Ronald Escalante.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

For many months, the Diocese of Arlington has investigated allegations of sexual misconduct and boundary violations brought against Father Ronald Escalante by adults and a minor, from both inside and outside St. Francis de Sales Parish. During our investigation, Father Escalante was placed on administrative leave and the allegations related to the minor were immediately reported to law enforcement officials, who elected not to pursue criminal charges.

I have taken seriously and investigated thoroughly the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been brought to my attention. In this investigation, I have been assisted by professionals with extensive experience in law enforcement and have benefitted from the counsel of psychological experts.

When confronted with the allegations against him, and in the presence of independent witnesses, Father Escalante freely admitted to conduct unbecoming and foreign to the clerical state involving two adults. In consultation with his canonical advocate and spiritual director, and after prayerful consideration, Father Escalante has freely offered his resignation of the office of Pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church for the spiritual good of the parish. I have accepted his resignation and he is on a leave of absence at this time. It is my hope and Father Escalante’s that his resignation will allow the parish to heal and move forward.

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