Priest's Departure Forced

By Frances Grandy Taylor
Hartford Courant (Connecticut)
February 17, 2005

The bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Norwich has asked a priest at St. Edmund's Retreat on Enders Island in Mystic to leave because of allegations of past sexual misconduct with minors.

The Rev. Paul Pinard, who is retired, lived at the retreat, but did not participate in parish work, said Jacqueline Kellar, spokeswoman for the Norwich diocese.

"I made the request for his departure ... after being informed of past substantial allegations of sexual misconduct with minors that were made against Father Pinard prior to his arrival in our diocese," Norwich Bishop Michael R. Cote announced in a Jan. 26 letter to priests in the diocese. The letter was published this month in the Four County Catholic, the diocesan newspaper.

Pinard moved to the retreat several years ago with permission from Bishop Daniel Hart, though it is not clear when the allegations against Pinard were made or when they came to the attention of the diocese.

Pinard, who sometimes conducted Mass and heard confessions on the island, was supervised while he lived there and cooperated with restrictions placed on him, said the Rev. Richard Myhalyk, superior general of the Society of St. Edmund, an order of priests with 42 members that is based in Colchester, Vt.

The priest left the island immediately after being notified by the bishop, Myhalyk said, and the order will transfer him to another location. There are no new allegations against Pinard, he said.

"We believe we have taken a responsible position by placing [him] where he can be monitored, to be sure no future abuse occurs," Myhalyk said. He added that he understood that Cote's order was an effort to conform with the rules of a charter the U.S. Conference of Bishops adopted in 2002 in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal.

St. Edmund's Retreat was founded by the Society of St. Edmund and Enders Island became a part of Norwich diocese in 1954. The retreat became an independent ministry in 2003.


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