Priest Faces Sexual Misconduct Allegation

My Fox Phoenix
June 24, 2011

[with video]

The Pastor of St. Timothy's parish in Mesa was placed on administrative leave over an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Father John Spaulding resigned from the parish on Monday over administrative issues.

Officials with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix say the alleged abuse happened 25 years ago when Spaulding was the Pastor at St. Maria Goretti parish in Scottsdale and the alleged victim was a minor.

Bishop Thomas Olmstead suspended Spaulding after a panel found the allegation was credible.

Spaulding denies the allegation and is cooperating with investigators.

Scottsdale police say it is not and has not investigated the priest in the past. There hasn't been an arrest and Spaulding has not been charged with anything.

"We aren't prepared to answer the specifics of the nature of the case..this is a preliminary investigation only," said Diocese General Counsel John Kelly.

Olmstead says the case is being referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests were quick to react to Friday's announcement. They take issue with the church official's claims that they are being proactive by revealing the allegation against Spaulding.

They believe Friday's announcement is more of the same.

"What is disappointing is that we're given nothing that can help victims heal or that can sponsor transparency. Instead, what we get is some double talk by the Diocese that says oh, it was one allegation from 25 years ago," said SNAP's Joelle Castix. "Well, if that allegation is strong enough to remove a man, then we need to know more. We need to know about the evidence, we need to be able to reach out to other victims, we need to know where Father Spaulding was at the time. We need to inform local law enforcement."

She also said SNAP members plan to be in the valley next weekend to distribute flyers at all the parishes where Spaulding worked in the hopes that any other possible victims will come forward.


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