Mesa Church Celebrates Mass without Suspended Pastor

By Tim Vetscher
ABC 15
June 27, 2011

[with video]

Mesa, AZ - Parishioners filed in to St. Timothy's Catholic Church in Mesa to celebrate mass Sunday morning without their suspended pastor.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix suspended Jack Spaulding on Friday following allegations of sexual misconduct with a child.

"I have no reason to believe the accusations are true at this time," said parishioner Becky Bowers-Greene.

The accusations date back to the mid-1980s when Father Spaulding worked as a priest at Saint Maria Goretti in Scottsdale.

After learning of the allegations, the Phoenix diocese hired a former FBI agent to investigate.

That investigation found "a semblance of truth" which resulted in Spaulding's suspension.

"I'm disappointed," said parishioner Pilar Hawkins. "I'm Catholic. The Catholic Church needs to punish a little bit and be strong with people who hurt children."

Spaulding resigned prior to the diocese suspending him based on an entirely different investigation.

Those accusations claimed that under Spaulding's leadership, St. Timothy's Church had failed to follow certain financial policies and procedures.

Spaulding tendered his resignation recognizing a need for new leadership at the parish.


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