Former Pensacola Priest Faces Abuse Allegations

By Rhema Thompson
Pensacola News Journal
September 4, 2013

[statement from the diocese]

[statement from Msgr. Cherup that appeared in the parish bulletin]

A former Pensacola priest has been removed from his duties after allegations that he sexually abused a minor, the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee said in a news release.

Msgr. Michael Cherup, pastor of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Fort Walton Beach, is being investigated by the State Attorney’s Office for the reported abuse which took place 20 years ago while he served as pastor of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Pensacola, according to Diocese spokeswoman Peggy DeKeyser.

The Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee was informed July 19 of the allegations stemming from an incident in August 1993 when the victim was 15 years old.

After learning of the victims accusations, the Diocese stated the victim was encouraged to report the incident to the appropriate law enforcement and to the Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline. An internal investigation into the victim’s claims determined them to credible, according to the Diocese.

The organization reported the allegations to the State Attorney’s Office, where they are currently under review, DeKeyser said.

Bishop Gregory Parkes removed Msgr. Cherup from active ministry, including all functions at his parish and school, pending the final outcome of the investigation.

Cherub is currently banned from publicly celebrating the sacraments or serving in any other function as a priest until the investigation is complete, according to the Diocese.

“Whenever all allegation of sexual abuse is brought forward, it causes great pain for all involved. I assure everyone involved in this difficult situation of my prayers,” Parkes said in a statement.

Cherup had served with the Diocese for 32 years, according to DeKeyser.

DeKeyser said the Diocese would not make any further comments on the situation at this time because of the ongoing investigation.

Anyone who believes they may have been the victim of abuse by a member of the clergy, an employee, or a volunteer is urged to contact the Florida Department of Children and Families Abuse Hotline at 1-800-962-2873 or Victim Assistance Coordinators: Pensacola/ Fort Walton Beach: Louis M. Makarowski at (850) 477-7181.


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