2 Say Former Deacon Sexually Abused Them

By David Yonke
Toledo Blade [Toledo OH]
Downloaded October 28, 2003

Two men stepped forward alleging they were repeatedly molested when they were boys in Toledo by former Catholic deacon Glen Shrimplin.

The men, both 44, claim they were abused over a period of years in the 1970s by Dr. Shrimplin, a retired dentist who left the ministry in January, 1987, and now lives in Bonita Springs, Fla.

Dr. Shrimplin, contacted yesterday in Florida, denied the allegations.

"Itís not true. That did not happen," Mr. Shrimplin said. "I am just so upset with all of this. Itís all so terrible."

In documents obtained by The Blade, Toledo Bishop James R. Hoffman apologized to one of the alleged victims, David Barciz, in a letter dated June 11, 2002.

"First of all, I need to apologize to you in the name of the Diocese of Toledo and also to say I am sorry for the abuse that you received from Glen Shrimplin," wrote Bishop Hoffman, who served as bishop of Toledo from 1981 until his death in February.

In an Oct. 22, 2002, letter to Mr. Barciz, who lives in Raleigh, N.C., Bishop Hoffman said Dr. Shrimplin "was removed from active diaconal ministry in the diocese of Toledo."

Dr. Shrimplin, now 69, said yesterday he left the diaconate of his own accord, denying he had been removed. He said he has left the Catholic church because "I did not agree with a lot of the things that were being said or done."

A deacon is an ordained position in the Roman Catholic Church. The men, who can be married and hold jobs outside the church, can officiate at baptisms, weddings, wakes, and funerals, and can preach and distribute Holy Communion.

Dr. Shrimplin, ordained a deacon in 1974, served at three Toledo parishes: Immaculate Conception, St. Catherineís, and Corpus Christi.

Mr. Barciz, in a May, 2002, letter to Bishop Hoffman and in interviews with The Blade, said his parents were divorced and he was a high school junior when he first met Dr. Shrimplin at a retreat. He said the deacon became "a father figure" and often drove him home from youth retreats and from Mass.

"Our rides home evolved from ending with hugs to ending with kisses," Mr. Barciz said in his letter to Bishop Hoffman.

During his senior year, Mr. Barciz said in the letter, Dr. Shrimplin sexually assaulted him at the deaconís home.

The second man who claims he was abused as a boy by Dr. Shrimplin has requested anonymity, citing concerns for his family. But he has been in contact with the Toledo diocese about the allegations and said he is undergoing counseling paid for by the diocese.

The victim said he was a troubled boy from a poor East Toledo family when Dr. Shrimplin began acting as a "mentor" in 1974.

He said the deacon first molested him when he was 14, and the abuse continued for about 10 years, calling Dr. Shrimplin a "master manipulator" who preyed on vulnerable youths.

The diocese followed its standard practice when the allegations against Dr. Shrimplin were raised, Sally Oberski, director of communications for the diocese, said yesterday in a statement. "With respect to each of these individuals, Bishop Hoffman took immediate action at the time he was made aware of the allegations."

There are 13,764 deacons in the United States and 191 in the Toledo diocese, according to the 2003 Catholic Almanac.

Dr. Shrimplin is the first deacon in the Toledo diocese to be accused of sexual misconduct since the church scandal erupted in January, 2002.


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