For Second Time, Church Loses Pastor Amid Abuse Allegation

Associated Press State & Local Wire
June 18, 2002

For the second time in less than three months, a Roman Catholic pastor at St. Sebastian Church has left his post following a sexual misconduct allegation.

The Rev. Guy Thoren has been placed on temporary leave, the Diocese of Marquette said. The allegation, which the diocese said involves conduct more than 25 years ago, was made after Thoren took the post June 1.

Parishioners were told about Thoren's removal at Mass on Saturday, the Daily Globe in nearby Ironwood and The Mining Journal of Marquette reported.

Thoren had replaced the Rev. Joseph D. Carne, who resigned following what the diocese called a credible allegation involving a minor "many years ago," before his time at St. Sebastian. Parishioners were informed of Carne's resignation April 6.

The diocese said the allegation against Thoren was substantiated through an internal investigation, including interviews with Thoren and his accuser. Before coming to Bessemer, Thoren served for eight years at St. Louis the King parish in Harvey, near Marquette.

The Rev. Jim Roetzer, who was serving as associate pastor at Our Lady of Peace Church in Ironwood, has been named temporary administrator at St. Sebastian.

"I just hope to bring a sense of peace and a sense of unity to the parish, so that all people might be able to move beyond this past week and begin to grow more fully in the love for God, their love for each other and their love for the Church," Roetzer told the Daily Globe.

Diocese spokeswoman Loreene Zeno Koskey declined to release the age or gender of the alleged victim, or discuss where the alleged abuse occurred, to protect the person's identity.

Zeno Koskey said Thoren, 57, isn't in a parish, but she declined to say where he is living following removal from the parish in Bessemer, near the Wisconsin border.

In addition to Thoren and Carne, one other priest in the diocese, which covers the Upper Peninsula, has left his post because of sexual misconduct allegations.

Since Jan. 1, at least 18 Catholic priests in Michigan have been removed, suspended or have left their duties amid sexual abuse or misconduct allegations.

Before his assignment at St. Louis the King, Thoren was pastor of Sacred Heart parish in L'Anse for eight years. Originally from Marquette, he has also served in Mackinac Island, Quinnesec, Norway, Marquette, Menominee, and Manistique.


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