Retired Priest on Leave after Sex Accusation
Accused of Inappropriate Behavior in '70s, '80s

Dayton Daily News
March 16, 2006

Cincinnati — A retired priest and former pastor in Urbana is on administrative leave stemming from a report that he inappropriately touched and engaged in other inappropriate sexual behavior with a minor in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said Wednesday.

The leave for Donald E. Shelander, 69, announced by Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, "does not represent a presumption of guilt on the part of the archdiocese.

"In accordance with church law, it is a response to an allegation deemed to have the 'semblance of truth' while further steps are taken," a statement issued by archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco's office said.

The leave — the strongest step a diocesan bishop can take on his own — prohibits Shelander from celebrating sacraments or presenting himself as a priest.

The archdiocese said a man reported that Shelander engaged "in a series of inappropriate activities with him while the complainant was 14 to 18 and Shelander was pastor of St. Mary Parish in Urbana."

Shelander has denied the allegations, said the archdiocese, which also reported the accusation to secular legal authorities.

Shelander was ordained in 1970. Before retiring in 2002, he served as associate pastor of St. Bernard in Springfield and St. Mary in Urbana; as pastor at St. Mary, St. Patrick in Bellefontaine and Sts. Peter and Paul in Newport, Ohio, the archdiocese said.

"We understand that the archdiocese has been unable to say whether he has been saying Mass at any churches since his retirement," Christy Miller, co-leader of the Cincinnati chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, told the Associated Press. "We don't know if anyone was put in harm's way since he retired, and we have no way of notifying people if we don't know where he's been."


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