US Seminarian Kicked out for Sexual Misconduct Now a Priest in Rp: Report

Abs Cbn
April 15, 2010

An American seminarian convicted of sexual misconduct with a 15-year-old boy has been ordained a priest in the Philippines, a news agency carried by a newspaper in the United Kingdom said Thursday.

The Guardian reported that Joseph Skelton, who was kicked out from the St. John Provincial Seminary in Detroic, Michigan in 1988, is now serving as parochial vicar of the St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Calape town, Bohol province.

The report added that Skelton is "also a popular gospel singer" in the Philippines.

It said that after his dismissal from the St. John Provincial Seminary, Skelton moved to the Philippines and continued his seminary studies in Manila and then ordained in 2001 in the diocese of Tagbilaran, Bohol.

The news item quoted retired Bishop Leopoldo Tumulak, the ordaining bishop, as saying that he was aware of Skelton's "effeminate ways" but argued that there was no case against him.

The report, however, said that the Tagbilaran diocese was informed by the archdiocese in Detroit about Skelton's conviction after learning that he has been ordained in the Philippines.

The former bishop said he could not remember receiving the letter and explained that the letter could have been "too late" if he "has served already the conviction."

Tumulak said Skelton "is trying to live well" and that the American priest should already be forgiven because "it's a little bit different" in the Philippines.

The story was part of the Associated Press' piece on priests convicted or accused of sexual misconduct and sent to other countries.

Quoting a former Benedictine monk, Richard Sipe, the report said priests in trouble are sent to missions abroad to avoid scandals.

The story also mentioned a priest who committed an offense in Los Angeles and went to the Philippines, where Church officials allegedly mailed him checks.

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