Priest Put on Leave
Patrol Probes Computer Use

By Christine Laue
Omaha World Herald
August 13, 2004

An O'Neill, Neb., priest has been placed on administrative leave, and the Nebraska State Patrol is investigating alleged improper computer use at his previous church in Verdigre.

State Patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins said Thursday that the investigation is continuing but that there has been no indication of any crime. Collins declined to say more about the investigation.

Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss placed the Rev. Jay L. Kruse of St. Patrick Church in O'Neill on administrative leave Aug. 2. Kruse also had served as president of O'Neill Catholic Schools.

The State Patrol notified the archdiocese Aug. 2 of "an investigation of serious concern related to computer equipment" at St. Wenceslaus Parish in Verdigre, said the Rev. Joseph C. Taphorn, vice chancellor of the Catholic Archdiocese of Omaha.

Kruse had served for two years as pastor of St. Wenceslaus and of a mission church, St. William, in Niobrara. He was transferred in June to O'Neill.

"It is standard procedure to take immediate action when issues of serious concern are brought to our attention," Taphorn said in a statement.

In an interview, Taphorn said Kruse was placed on administrative leave for personal reasons. He said O'Neill parish members were told during Masses last weekend.

Taphorn declined to give further details.

The Rev. Francis Nigli, associate pastor at St. Columbkille in Papillion, has been named as administrator, or temporary replacement, at St. Patrick Parish, Taphorn said.

Taphorn said the administrative leave is pending the outcome of the investigation.


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