Diocese Knew of Misconduct Case
Church Official: We Relied on Boston's OK for His Work in N.C.

By Ken Garfield
Charlotte Observer (North Carolina)
May 17, 2002

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Charlotte on Thursday acknowledged that it allowed a priest from Boston to serve even though it knew he was the subject of allegations of sexual misconduct involving adults.

In a written statement released by the Rev. Anthony Marcaccio, vice chancellor of the Diocese, Catholic leaders said the Rev. George Berthold was removed from his teaching position at Belmont Abbey College after another allegation of misconduct involving a minor from 25 years ago surfaced.

"Based on information originally provided to the Diocese of Charlotte by the Archdiocese of Boston, there was no reason to prevent Father Berthold from providing ministry in this Diocese," Marcaccio said in the statement. "Although his application acknowledged allegations involving adults, we understood that the Archdiocese of Boston investigated the incidents and were satisfied with the findings and thus recommended Father Berthold for ministry in the Diocese of Charlotte."

Berthold was hired in 1997 to head the Gaston County college's theology department. From the fall of 1997 to October 1998, Berthold taught 10 theology courses.

College spokeswoman Teresa Sowers McKinney has said the college had no knowledge of any allegations against Berthold when he was hired. She said no complaints of sexual misconduct were made against Berthold when he was at the Abbey.

The Diocese statement released Thursday comes a day after local Catholic officials insisted the Boston Archdiocese did not give them any information that should have prevented Berthold from ministry.

Archdiocese of Boston officials, under fire for its handling of sexually abusive priests, had said they alerted Belmont Abbey officials about allegations against Berthold before he was hired.

The allegation against Berthold involved making improper advances toward a freshman, including kissing him on the lips, at St. John's Seminary in Brighton, Mass., in 1995. The other charge involving a minor, the one which apparently led to his ouster in the Charlotte Diocese, involves an accusation that he molested a boy about three decades ago in Massachusetts, according to The Boston Globe.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.