Message to the People of Southwest Florida Regarding Allegations of Sexual Misconduct Against
Three Retired Priests of the Diocese of Venice

Diocese of Venice in Florida
May 24, 2002

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

I regret to inform you that allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor going back many years have been brought against three retired priests of the Diocese of Venice - Fathers Neil Flemming, William Romero and Donald Baier. Each priest has had his authority to engage in priestly ministry revoked. If it is determined that the allegations are substantiated, these revocations will be permanent.

I encourage anyone who may have been abused at any time by any diocesan employee to come forward and report it to the Department of Children and Family Services, 1-800-962-2873, to local law enforcement authorities and to Dr. Terry Reilly, Case Manager for the Diocese of Venice, 1-941-484-9543. The diocese wants to assist in the healing process and help victims regain their lives.

I want to assure you that I will continue to do all that I can to protect the well-being of all those served by the Church and I express my personal sorrow to anyone who has been wounded at any time by any representative of the Church.

Please pray for me as I do for you and let us pray together for all who have suffered and for those who have caused the suffering. May God's blessings be upon you and your families.

Sincerely in Our Lord,

John J. Nevins, D.D.
Bishop of Venice in Florida


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