Bishop Burbidge Suspends Charged Priest

Roman Catholic Diocese of Raleigh
January 9, 2010

The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, announced today that he has suspended the priestly faculty at the present time of the Reverend Edgar Sepulveda, Pastor of Maria Reina Parish in Mount Olive, Santa Teresa Mission in Beulaville and Santa Clara Mission in Magnolia. The action comes following the Diocese being informed that charges of a second degree sexual offense and misdemeanor sexual battery were made by the Brunswick County authorities today against Fr. Sepulveda. Fr. Sepulveda has been on administrative leave since September 9, after an allegation was made accusing Fr. Sepulveda of alleged sexual misconduct with a minor.

When the information was received by the Diocese on September 9, 2009, the Diocese immediately reported the allegation to the North Carolina Conference of District Attorneys as outlined in its Policies and Procedures for the Protection of Children and Young People. The notification was made on the day the allegation was received.

Dr. John Pendergrass, Diocesan Director of the Office of Child and Youth Protection, and Ms. Kathleen Walsh, Diocesan Victim’s Assistance Coordinator, met with the individual and the individual’s parents on September 10, 2009. Arrangements to provide counseling for the individual and the individual’s parents were made.

Fr. Sepulveda was promptly informed of the allegation. He denied the claim and pledged his cooperation with the investigation. On September 9, 2009, Bishop Burbidge placed Fr. Sepulveda on administrative leave of absence from the parish while civil authorities conducted the investigation. In addition, pursuant with Diocesan policy, the Diocesan Review Board was informed about the allegation against Fr. Sepulveda on September 11, 2009. The Review Board’s function includes receiving and evaluating reports of sexual misconduct against a minor by priests, deacons and other Church personnel and providing recommendations to the Bishop based upon results of an investigation. Furthermore, as required by Diocesan policy, a criminal background check was completed prior to Fr. Sepulveda’s first appointment in the Diocese in 2004 and a second background check was completed prior to his incardination in the Diocese in 2006. Both background checks displayed no criminal record.

Fr. Sepulveda’s pastoral assignments in the Diocese of Raleigh have been:

* July 6, 2004 appointment as Parochial Vicar of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church, Newton Grove. As Parochial Vicar he also served an additional parish and mission under the pastoral priestly ministry of Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish: St. Mary Catholic Church, Mt. Olive and its Mission of Posada Guadalupana, Mt. Olive.

* January 18, 2005 appointment as Parochial Vicar at St. Mary Catholic Church, Mt. Olive, its mission Posada Guadalupana, Mt. Olive and the Stations of Pink Hill and Beulaville.

* January 3, 2006 appointment as Administrator of the Mission of Posada Guadalupana, Mt. Olive and the Station of St. Teresa, Pink Hill.

* July, 10 2007, appointment as Pastor of Maria, Reina de las Americas Catholic Church (formerly known as Posada Guadalupana Mission) and its Mission Santa Teresa, Pink Hill.

* July 8, 2008, additionally appointment as Pastor of Santa Clara Mission, Magnolia.

As the legal process continues, Bishop Burbidge has asked all the faithful in the Diocese of Raleigh to pray for all those involved during this difficult time.


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