Indianapolis Star [Indianapolis, IN]
March 14, 2022
By M.J. Slaby
A Carmel priest was “suspended from public ministry” after allegations of “inappropriate conduct with a minor.”
Bishop of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana Timothy Doherty announced James De Oreo’s suspension to Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church parish at the end of mass on Sunday. De Oreo was an associate pastor at the church.
Doherty said the suspension by the diocese was effective Friday, March 11.
De Oreo has not been charged with a crime as of 6 p.m. Monday, March 14, according to online court records.
Doherty and the diocese didn’t provide specific details about the allegations or if there were previous investigations into De Oreo’s conduct.
In addition to the church, Our Lady of Mount Carmel has a K-8 school of about 600 students, according to state data from the 2020-21 school year.
IndyStar’s attempt to reach De Oreo by phone on Monday afternoon was unsuccessful.
“The diocese received allegations of inappropriate conduct with a minor that violates the Essential Norms and the Diocesan Code of Conduct for Clergy,” Doherty said. “This was reported to the Indiana child protective services. A preliminary investigation is ongoing and precautionary measures are in place according to Canon 1722 of the code of cannon law.”
Canon 1722 allows for the accused to be excluded “from the sacred ministry or from some office and ecclesiastical function” as well as other restrictions for the accused.
The Indiana Department of Child Services said confidentiality laws prevented the department from acknowledging any report or investigation.
Doherty urged anyone aware of misconduct during De Oreo’s ministry to make a report to child protective services and victims’ assistance coordinator.
De Oreo became ordained as a priest in 2018, according to a newsletter serving the diocese. He then joined St. Alphonsus Liguori Catholic Church in Zionsville before moving to Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
“The safety and well-being of our children and young people are of the utmost importance,” the diocese’s Monday statement reads. “We invite you to join us in prayer for the healing guidance of the Holy Spirit on behalf of all who have been victims of abuse.”
Doherty told the parish that the church’s pastor and priests “do not have any additional information to share about the allegation or the investigation.”
According to the diocese, reports of misconduct can be made by:
- Calling the Department of Child Services at 800-800-5556
- Calling local law enforcement.
- Call Jackie Montrie, victim assistance coordinator of the Diocese of Lafayette-in-Indiana, at 765-464-4988.