Former Durham Franciscan friar barred from ministry after sexual misconduct investigation

The News and Observer [Raleigh, NC]

April 17, 2024

By Josh Shaffer

A Franciscan friar formerly connected to Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Durham and Duke University has been removed from public ministry after allegations of sexual misconduct.

The Rev. Patrick Tuttle served as associate pastor in Durham from 1996 until at least 2009, and he also taught seventh and eighth-graders while there.

Tuttle is now “living under the strict supervision of an independent monitor,” according to an April 4 statement from the friars of the Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Most recently in Georgia

The misconduct allegations arose four months ago, and Tuttle was soon removed as pastor at Holy Spirit Church in Macon, Georgia. After an investigation, the Province Review Board unanimously recommended he be barred from all public ministry and placed under supervision.

“During the independent investigation process and beyond,” the statement read, “the province has offered outside pastoral care and counseling services to the abuse survivor who bravely came forward with the allegations.”

Tuttle could not be reached.

It was not clear Wednesday whether any allegations had surfaced from Tuttle’s time in Durham. The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh keeps a list of clergy accused of sexual abuse while serving in and outside the diocese, but the latest entry on it comes from 2020.

The pastor and communications coordinator at Immaculate Conception have not yet returned an email requesting information about Tuttle’s years there. The director of child and youth protection for the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh did not return a call Wednesday.

A visible ministry in Durham

Tuttle led a highly visible ministry while in Durham, participating in an AIDS vigil in 1996, joining a rally in Durham County Stadium after a string of homicides in 2000 and leading a prayer after the Sept. 11 attacks.

In a 2004 article in the Olean Times Herald in upstate New York, Tuttle described himself as a friend of former Duke men’s basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski, having baptized his oldest grandchild and leading the marriage ceremony for his youngest daughter.

Krzyzewski declined to comment on Tuttle’s removal.

A native of Hartford, Connecticut, Tuttle was campus minister at Siena College near Alban, New York, before coming to Durham.

He carried a light-hearted and fun attitude, working as a wedding and party DJ despite being a Franciscan friar who wore the brown robe and sandals of St. Francis of Assisi.

Tuttle gained statewide fame in North Carolina in the late 1990s for buying an electric car out of concern for the environment.

He co-hosted a YouTube channel in which he reviewed TV shows, movies and TikTok videos. As recently as two years ago, he posted a Facebook video announcing his return to Durham for a Franciscan festival.

“Father Patrick Tuttle coming back to Durham, woot woot!” he says in the video. “It’s going to be a crazy time. We are going to have some hoedown partying. … Woot woot!”