Priest Placed on Leave

Tribune Chronicle
October 10, 2011

YOUNGSTOWN - Bishop George V. Murry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown has placed the Rev. John Warner on administrative leave following a recently reported allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor more than 30 years ago at St. Edward Parish in Youngstown.

This is the second time in two years the diocese has dealt with a case of alleged sexual misconduct.

The diocese said it has reported the allegation to the appropriate civil authorities and has scheduled a news conference for 11 a.m. today in Youngstown.

Warner has denied the allegation, according to a news release issued Sunday by the diocese.

"Although Warner denied the allegation, after a thorough investigation, the (Diocesan) Review Board concluded that the allegation was credible and recommended that I place Father Warner on administrative leave," Murry said in the release.

At Murry's request, Warner resigned as pastor of SS Philip and James Parish in Canal Fulton, where he has been since 2003.

Warner has been a priest with the diocese since 1970, having been assigned to parishes in Trumbull, Mahoning, Stark, Portage and Columbiana counties.

In addition to the release, Murry sent a letter explaining the situation to be read to congregations in parishes where Warner served.

The Rev. Bernard Schmalzried, at St. Mary Parish in Warren, made the announcement at Mass on Saturday and Sunday. Warner served at the parish from 1973 to 1976.

"The bishop sent a letter to all the parishes Warner had served to be read this weekend," he said Sunday.

Schmalzried said he knew Warner from St. Rose School in Girard and they attended seminary together at St. Gregory-St. Mary in Cincinnati from 1962 to 1964.

"I knew him when we were at seminary. There were three of us from the area there at the same time," he said, indicating the late Rev. John Parillo, who was also at St. Rose in Girard, attended seminary with him and Warner.

Schmalzried said he wasn't aware of the specific incident until this weekend.

As a priest on administrative leave, Warner may not publicly celebrate the sacraments, wear clerical attire, or present himself as a priest in good standing.

A message was left with St. Edward Parish Sunday afternoon.

In 2010, Pope Benedict XVI removed from the priesthood a former Warren-area priest for having sexual contact with a minor.

Thomas Crum, a former Cardinal Mooney High School faculty member who also served as a priest at St. James Catholic Church in Warren and St. Mary in Orwell, had requested he be removed from the priesthood after the allegations surfaced a year earlier.

Crum, who had served more than 30 years with the diocese, admitted to sexually abusing a high school student in 1975-76. He was removed from active ministry in 2009 after confirming allegations that he had sexually abused a minor.

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