Former Michigan Priest Reinstated by Vatican Working in Fla. Hospital

Detroit Free Press
June 2, 2005

Miami (AP) -- A U.S. Navy chaplain who was suspended by Detroit Catholic leaders on accusations of child sexual abuse but later won reinstatement to the active priesthood through an appeal to the Vatican has begun work at a Florida hospital.

The Rev. Brian Bjorklund began work Tuesday at the Miami Veteran Affairs Medical Center, hospital spokeswoman Susan Ward said.

Bjorklund was suspended by the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2003 over abuse that allegedly took place in the mid-1970s. Bjorklund was working as a Navy chaplain in California at the time of his suspension.

In February 2004, the Vatican overruled the zero-tolerance policy adopted by U.S. bishops and reinstated Bjorklund to the ministry. It said the accusation against him -- having sex with a 16-year-old boy in the 1970s -- did not violate church law at the time.

Ward said nothing came up in a hospital background check on Bjorklund. The hospital does not treat juveniles, she said.

A spokeswoman for the Archdiocese of Miami said Bjorklund must undergo a background check before he is granted priestly powers in the archdiocese.

Bjorklund began his career after being ordained in 1966 and started serving as associate pastor at St. Alfred Parish in the Detroit suburb of Taylor. He worked in Michigan until becoming a Navy chaplain in 1988. He was stationed in Lemoore, Calif.

The Archdiocese of Detroit has said that the case involved a Michigan minor but would provide no further details. The information was given to Michigan authorities, but because of the passage of time and a statute of limitations, they chose not to investigate further, the archdiocese said.


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