Archdiocese: Allegations against Former St. John Pastor Bevan Are Credible

By Ron Cassie
November 24, 2009

The Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore said an investigation has determined allegations of child sexual abuse against a former Frederick pastor are credible.

Monsignor Thomas Bevan, 73, was removed from his position at the Church of St. Patrick in Cumberland in August after two people said Bevan abused them as minors in the 1970s while he served at St. John the Evangelist.

In a letter to parishioners read Sunday at St. Patrick's, Archbishop Edwin O'Brien wrote that two other people have subsequently come forward alleging Bevan abused them while he served at a Middle River church in the 1970s.

Archdiocese of Baltimore spokesman Sean Caine said the allegations from all four individuals have been determined to be credible. As a result of the archdiocese's investigation, Bevan will be permanently removed from ministerial duties, Caine said.

The archdiocese plans to appoint a new pastor at St. Patrick's.

Bevan has denied the allegations, Caine said.

Earlier this year a man who contacted the archdiocese alleged Bevan abused him on separate occasions in the mid-1970s while the man was a student at the St. John Catholic Church parish school in Frederick , according to an earlier archdiocese press release.

In 2005, the archdiocese investigated an allegation by another individual of child sexual abuse dating back to 1974. Caine said that claim was similar to the new allegation earlier this year.

Bevan also denied that abuse, the press release stated.

The allegations are being investigated by the Frederick County Sheriff's Office and Frederick County State's Attorney.

Ordained in 1963, Bevan served at St. John the Evangelist from 1974 to 1979.

While there, he was an associate pastor of the church and did not teach a class at the school, Cain said. He taught liturgy classes at Mount St. Mary's University in Emmitsburg .

After the allegations came to light in late August, several St. John the Evangelist members recalled the former associate pastor as an intellectual, remembering the book "220 years ... The History of the Catholic Community of the Frederick Valley," about the history of the Catholic community in Frederick , which he released in 1977.

One former altar boy, Thomas Geraghty, who worked with Bevan previously, said he was shocked by the allegations, recalling him as "the cool priest" who was also involved in the local Boy Scouts program.

Geraghty said he would never believe the allegations "in a million years."

In a previous e-mail, longtime St. John's parishioner Leslie Nuse described Bevan as a great priest. She remembered the book he wrote, which is in the library at the Historical Society of Frederick County.

Staff writer Meg Tully and the Associated Press contributed to this report.


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