Canal Fulton Priest Removed Amid Allegation of Abuse

By Colette M. Jenkins
Beacon Journal
October 10, 2011

The Rev. John Warner, pastor of SS Philip & James Parish in Canal Fulton, has resigned amid an allegation of sex abuse.

Warner, who has served the parish since 2003, is accused of sexual misconduct with a minor more than 30 years ago at St. Edward Parish in Youngstown, according to information released Sunday by the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown.

"Although Father Warner denied the allegation, after a thorough investigation, the review board concluded that the allegation was credible and recommended that I place Father Warner on administrative leave," Youngstown Bishop George V. Murry said in a news release.

The diocesan review board is a consultant group that evaluates claims of abuse and advises the bishop on issues related to child sex abuse.

At Murry's request, Warner resigned and was placed on administrative leave. As a priest on administrative leave, he is prohibited from publicly celebrating the sacraments and wearing clerical attire.

Warner has been a priest in the Youngstown diocese since 1970. He was an assistant pastor at St. Peter Parish in Canton from 1970 to 1973; St. Mary Parish in Warren from 1973 to 1976; St. Edward in Youngstown from 1976 to 1982; St. Joan of Arc Parish in Perry Township from 1982 to 1984; Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Aurora from 1995 to 1996 and St. Paul Parish in North Canton from 1996 to 1999.

His assignments as pastor included St. Vincent De Paul Parish in Vienna from 1984 to 1992; St. Aloysius Parish in East Liverpool from 1992 to 1995 and SS Peter & Paul Parish in Youngstown from 1999 to 2003, when he came to Canal Fulton.

He also was a temporary administrator at St. Bernadette Parish in Masury in 1992 and a part-time chaplain at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Youngstown in 1999.

Diocesan leaders are asking anyone who has experienced abuse by clergy or anyone else associated with the church to contact civil authorities and contact the diocesan victim's assistance coordinator at 330-744-8451.

The diocese said that the allegation against Warner has been reported to police.

"I am deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to actions of some members of the clergy, because nothing is more important than protecting our children," Murry said in the prepared statement.

Details of the allegation against Warner, including when the allegation was reported to the diocese, were not released. The news release also did not state when Warner resigned.

A news conference is scheduled for 11 a.m. today in Youngstown.

Warner could not be reached for comment.

The SS Philip & James website (www.saintsphilipand′ lists the Rev. Thomas S. Acker as administrator of the parish.


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