Vatican Strips Ex-Priests of Authority

Associated Press, carried in Maine Today
May 30, 2008

PORTLAND - Two Roman Catholic priests previously removed from ministry for sexually abusing minors have been formally stripped of their authority by the Vatican, church officials said Friday.

The Diocese of Portland announced that the Vatican imposed its most severe punishment on George Beaudet, 69, and Michael Plourde, 57, both of whom were named publicly by Bishop Richard Malone last January because the Vatican investigation was progressing slowly.

Beaudet was accused and removed from ministry in 2000 because of alleged abuse dating to 1979. Additional complaints were received in 2002. Beaudet now resides out of state.

Plourde was accused by two minors in 1994 and was removed from ministry that year. The offenses occurred after Plourde returned to the ministry after undergoing counseling in 1989 because of a complaint involving sexual misconduct toward an adult. Plourde still resides in Maine.

With the action, both men have been laicized — or defrocked.

The last time the action was taken in Maine was in 2006 against former priests Christian Roy and John Shorty, said diocese spokeswoman Sue Bernard. Those two cases represented the first forced laicizations in the history of the Diocese of Portland.

Malone apologized again Friday to abuse survivors.

Malone continues to encourage anyone who has ever been abused by clergy or other church representatives to make a report to the diocese or to local police.

Since 2002, all substantive allegations of sexual abuse of minors are publicized and active priests must step down during investigations of those complaints.


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