Retired Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse

Columbus Dispatch
March 17, 2006

CINCINNATI — The Archdiocese of Cincinnati put a retired Roman Catholic priest on administrative leave Wednesday because of child sexual-abuse allegations stemming from his time as a pastor in Urbana nearly three decades ago.

Donald E. Shelander cannot celebrate the sacraments or present himself as a priest in any way. Shelander, pastor of St. Mary Parish in Urbana from 1977 to 1983, retired in 2002, the archdiocese said.

"So far as we can determine from our records, these are the first allegations of sexual abuse against him," said archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco.

An adult male recently reported to the archdiocese that Shelander engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior with him when he was 14 to 18 years old. A private investigator for the archdiocese looked into the allegations, and the archdiocese found they had "the semblance of truth."

However, Wednesday's action by Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk doesn't mean a presumption of guilt, the archdiocese said.

Shelander could not be reached for comment. There was no answer to telephone calls to his home.

The accusation also was reported to legal authorities, the archdiocese said.

The archdiocese said Shelander, 69, was ordained in 1970; served as associate pastor of St. Bernard, Springfield (1970-74); associate pastor at St. Mary, Urbana (1974-77); pastor at St. Mary (1977-83); pastor of St. Patrick, Bellefontaine (1983-94), and then pastor at Sts. Peter and Paul, Newport (1994-2002).

"We understand that the archdiocese has been unable to say whether he has been saying Mass at any churches since his retirement," said Christy Miller, co-leader of the Cincinnati chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a national support organization for clergy-abuse victims. "We don't know if anyone was put in harm's way since he retired, and we have no way of notifying people if we don't know where he's been."


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