Catholic Pastor Put on Leave

By Janet I. Tu
Seattle Times
July 30, 2007

Mercer Island (WA) — The Rev. Dennis Kemp, pastor of St. Monica Roman Catholic Church on Mercer Island, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into allegations of inappropriate conduct with a minor.

The announcement was made during weekend Masses at St. Monica.

The allegations were reported earlier this month to the Seattle Archdiocese, which immediately contacted Mercer Island police, said archdiocese spokesman Greg Magnoni.

After a police investigation, the King County Prosecutor's Office determined no criminal charges would be filed.

Magnoni would not release details, including when the alleged offenses occurred or whether there was more than one accuser, saying the archdiocese is doing its own investigation. Once that's completed, the results will be reviewed by the archdiocese's review board.

Kemp, 60, could not immediately be reached for comment, but the archdiocese says he has agreed to cooperate with the investigation.

He has served as pastor at St. Monica since 2002 and also has served at St. Mark Church in Shoreline and at Our Lady Star of the Sea Church in Bremerton, and as a campus minister and teacher at Kennedy High School in Burien.

"I deeply regret the need for this action," said Archbishop Alex Brunett in a statement. "If our investigation determines that these allegations are true, it will be disheartening to me and for all Catholic people in the Archdiocese of Seattle.

"Even though this action does not presume Father Kemp's guilt or innocence, it is my responsibility to ensure that parents and children can trust fully any priest or lay person I assign to ministry."

Anyone with knowledge of allegations of inappropriate conduct with a minor by a member of the clergy, an employee or volunteer of the Archdiocese of Seattle is asked to call the archdiocesan hotline at 800-446-7762.

Janet I. Tu: 206-464-2272 or


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