Upper Peninsula Priest Resigns after Sexual Misconduct Allegation

Associated Press State & Local Wire
April 10, 2002

A Catholic priest has resigned and is on a health-related leave of absence from ministerial duties following a sexual misconduct allegation, church officials said.

The allegation against the Rev. Joseph D. Carne does not involve children or criminal activity, but he is accused of sexual misconduct under church law, the Catholic Diocese of Marquette said in a statement.

"The allegation stems from many years ago, long before Father Carne's pastorate at St. Sebastian Parish" in Bessemer, where he was posted before recently stepping down, the statement said.

It said the accusation had had "a seriously detrimental effect on Father Carne's health" and that doctors had advised him to step down.

Carne could not be reached for comment. The phone number listed for him was that of the parish, which referred a caller to the diocese.

Representatives of the diocese attended weekend masses at the parish and offered pastoral care to parishioners, the statement said.

The Rev. Ray Moncher, a senior priest with the diocese, was named temporary administrator of St. Sebastian Parish.

Parishioners are grieving, said Barbara Karpus, president of the St. Sebastian Church Council.

"We're sad to see him go. We just have to pick up the pieces," Karpus told the Daily Globe of Ironwood for a story Tuesday.

"I would say the majority of his parish is behind him," said church member Barbara Polkus. "We all make mistakes in life. ... He has been very dear friend. I know of instances where he stayed with a cancer victim until the last breath."


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