Roseville priest reinstated after investigation of sex abuse allegations

By Mike Munzenrider
Lillie News
March 29, 2016

The Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick (courtesy of Saint Rose of Lima Catholic Church)

Roseville priest reinstated after investigation of sex abuse allegations

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis announced March 17 the reinstatement of a Roseville priest who took a leave of absence in August following accusations of sexual abuse.

The Rev. Robert Fitzpatrick, pastor of Saint Rose of Lima and Corpus Christi Roman Catholic churches, was accused of sexually abusing a minor in the 1980s. He denied the allegations, the archdiocese release said, and took the leave of absence voluntarily.

At the time of the leave of absence, the archdiocese termed the allegations “credible” and “not manifestly false or frivolous.” 

The most recent statement from the archdiocese said that law enforcement investigators closed the Fitzpatrick case “based on a lack of evidence and the statute of limitations.” 

The archdiocese then conducted its own investigation using the Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board, which is made up mostly of lay people. The MRB, the archdiocese’s most recent release said, “determined that there was not a reasonable basis to find that the alleged abuse occurred.”

Further, the release said, the archdiocese’s director of the Office of Ministerial Standards and a Safe Environment had concurred with the board’s findings, which recommended allowing Fitzpatrick to return to ministry.

Beyond his posts at Saint Rose of Lima and Corpus Christi, Fitzpatrick, who was ordained in 1973, served at Little Canada’s St. John the Evangelist Church from 1984 to 2005.

The archdiocese announcement came a week and a half before Easter. St. Rose of Lima’s church bulletin for March 20 — Palm Sunday — listed Fitzpatrick as being “on voluntary leave.”

Officials at neither Saint Rose of Lima nor the archdiocese said they had an answer as to when Fitzpatrick would return to his regular duties.


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