South Carolina priest returns to ministry 4 months after sexual manipulation lawsuit

WCIV-TV, ABC-4 [Charleston SC]

December 13, 2021

By Bailey Wright

Four months after a South Carolina priest was placed on leave for allegedly manipulating a woman into a sexual relationship, the catholic diocese of Charleston says he has returned to worship.

They say Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone made the decision to reinstate father Wilbroad Mwape at St. Anthony’s of Padua. He returned on Dec. 10.

The diocese did not say anything additional about the pending lawsuit.

SNAP– the survivors network of those abused by priests- said it is “incredulous” that the priest is back in the pulpit, just six months after Pope Francis changed Catholic Church law to criminalize the sexual abuse of adults by priests.

“By putting Fr. Mwape back in a position of power at St. Anthony of Padua, the Diocese of Charleston is not only putting others at risk but also re-traumatizing the survivor who filed the lawsuit, as well as any other victims who may not yet be able to speak out about their abuse,” SNAP officials said in a statement.

The lawsuit was filed on Aug. 4, 2021. It claims the priest abused his position of power at at least two churches, including the Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Orangeburg and his relocation to Greenville.

SNAP provides peer support to survivors of clergy sexual abuse, including those who were abused as adults.