Superior Diocese Suspends Retired Priest over "Inappropriate Conduct" Allegations

By Madeleine Baran
Minnesota Public Radio,
April 14, 2010

Duluth, Minn. The Catholic Diocese of Superior has suspended a Wisconsin priest after allegations of "inappropriate conduct" with an unnamed individual.

The 77-year-old priest, Fr. Robert Urban, has been retired from active ministry for 13 years, diocese officials said. He moved to Superior several years ago, and has assisted parishes in the area.

On Wednesday, the diocese released a statement saying, in part, "On April 1, 2010, Bishop Christensen received a secondhand report that Fr. Urban may have had inappropriate conduct with a person who may or may not be under the age of 18."

The statement from the diocese said that they immediately reported the information to authorities and placed Fr. Urban on an "indefinite suspension removing his faculties as a priest." The suspension will continue until the allegation can be verified as true or false, the statement said.

The Superior Police Department is investigating the allegations. At this time, no charges have been filed.

The allegation comes amid a global clergy abuse scandal spurred in part by controversy over how the Catholic Church handled allegations of abuse against a priest in the Milwaukee area. In recent weeks, the case has raised questions about how Pope Benedict XVI has dealt with abusive priests in his past church roles.

The Superior diocese said that prior to the information received on April 1, "there have been no allegations made which would suggest Fr. Urban was involved in inappropriate behavior with minors."


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