Jesuits Recall Durham Priest Amid Accusations of Sexual Misconduct

April 28, 2007

Durham — A religious order recalled one of its priests from a Durham parish after it received information involving sexual misconduct 25 years ago.

Bishop Michael F. Burbidge of the Diocese of Raleigh announced Saturday that the Maryland Province of the Society of Jesus asked the Rev. Stephen M. Garrity, pastor of Holy Cross Church, to return to the Provincial House in Baltimore.

The Jesuits acted in light of information alleging Garrity engaged in sexual misconduct with adults. The alleged acts did not take place in North Carolina, Burbridge said.

In a release, Burbidge said the Diocese of Raleigh had no knowledge of any allegation against Garrity until Friday, when the Jesuits contacted the diocese. Garrity has served at Holy Cross since October 2001.

Burbridge said the Society of Jesus sent the Rev. Frank O'Connor, who was pastor at Holy Cross in the 1970s, to serve as administrator of the parish until a new pastor is named.

Burbridge also said he will be at Holy Cross at the 9 a.m. Mass on May 6 to talk with the parishioners and to celebrate Mass with them.


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