N.C. Priest Suspended after an Arrest in S.C.

January 9, 2010

RALEIGH -- A North Carolina priest has been suspended by the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh after he was arrested in South Carolina and charged with committing sexual offenses on a juvenile.

The Rev. Edgar Sepulveda, 47, is charged with one count of second-degree sexual offense and one count of sexual battery, according to Marty Folding, public affairs officer with the Brunswick County, S.C., Sheriff's Office.

Sepulveda was visiting church members in Brunswick County in May when the offenses occurred, Folding said.

Sepulveda, a resident of Beulaville and pastor of Maria Reina de las Americas Parish in Mount Olive, was put on administrative leave in September when the allegation of the sexual misconduct was initially received, according to a news release posted Friday on the diocese Web site.

At that time, the church began its own investigation, and counseling was provided to both the victim and his parents, according to Bishop Michael Burbridge of the Raleigh Diocese. Sepulveda denied the allegation, the news release states.

Burbridge said Sepulveda was officially suspended Friday when the diocese received news of the criminal charges.

The news release also stated that two routine criminal background checks the diocese had performed in connection with Sepulveda's employment had turned up no criminal history.

Sepulveda was jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail.


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