Pastor on Leave after Allegations

By Jason Lea
The News-Herald [Euclid OH]
June 13, 2007

Pastor of St. Christine's Catholic Church in Euclid accused of sexual misconduct with a minor in the mid-1970s

The Rev. Patrick Henry, pastor of St. Christine's Catholic Church in Euclid, has been placed on administrative leave after being accused of sexual misconduct with a minor in the mid-1970s.

The alleged incident occurred before Henry was a member of the Diocese of Cleveland, said Bob Tayek, a diocesan spokesman.

Tayek would not say the age or gender of the victim. He also would not indicate the nature of the incident or specifically where it allegedly occurred, saying only it was "out of state."

The Diocesan Review Board hired investigators to examine the matter, and "has concluded that a preponderance of the evidence produced in the investigation concluded that the allegation is credible," Cleveland Bishop Richard G. Lennon wrote in a letter to parishioners of St. Christine's, on East 222nd Street.

Henry was put on administrative leave Friday.

The diocese also reported the allegations to the appropriate civil authorities, Tayek said.

However, after 30 years, it is possible the statute of limitations has expired, depending on

the nature of the sexual misconduct.

"(Henry) still receives a

salary, and he receives his

health benefits. But he is not allowed to live on church property or dress in priestly garb," Tayek said.

Henry arrived at St. Christine's in 2002, at the end of the Rev. Francis Stern's tenure, after serving at St. Mary's parish in Painesville. Before, he served in Peru and El Salvador.

"I could have just cried," said Dorothy Ivancic, when she heard Henry would be leaving. "It's still hard to take."

Ivancic is an interim member of St. Christine's parishioner board and was appointed by Henry.

She said he is likely in his mid to late 60s.

"He has so much get-up-and-go, which was needed because it is an older parish," Ivancic said.

"For his age, he had a lot of upbeat ideas."

Those ideas included having two live donkeys at church as part of the Mass for Palm Sunday.

Ivancic said Masses were monotonous until he took over.

"He just did things - how would you say it? - not the old way," she said.

Henry oversaw a difficult transition for St. Christine, including the sale of its school to Pinnacle Academy.

He was trying to open a social center when he was removed, Ivancic said.

The interim replacement for Henry is the Rev. Edward J. Smith, Tayek said.

But Henry's fate will not be certain until the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

at the Vatican reviews his situation, which can take several years.


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