Two More Priests Accused

Batesville Daily Guard
March 20, 2002

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) - After identifying priests who have been investigated for allegations of sexual abuse of minors since 1984, Bishop John Leibrecht promised to change how the diocese handles future allegations.

Three priests have been forced to retire during Leibrecht's 17 years as leader of the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese. He identified two additional priests Tuesday as the Rev. Lawrence Gregovich of Immaculate Conception in New Madrid and the Rev. Amel Shibley of St. Michael parish in Fredericktown.

Both Gregovich and Shibley were investigated in separate incidents in the 1980s involving young boys.

Church officials earlier identified the third priest investigated for sexual abuse as the Rev. Leonard R. Chambers, who was forced to retire in 1998.

Gregovich was forced to retire in 1992. Leibrecht said he told Shibley on March 3 that his services would no longer be needed.

Leibrecht said that from now on, the diocese would handle such allegations immediately, would reveal them to the parishes and would be more willing to report accusations to civil authorities. He also said priests who sexually abuse minors would not be allowed to do work in a parish or celebrate Mass.


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