Father Joseph temporarily removed from ministry following allegation

| January 24, 2018 | 14 Comments

Father Thomas Joseph, outgoing pastor of St. Nicholas in Carver, was temporarily removed from ministry because law enforcement is investigating him for criminal conduct involving an adult.

According to a Jan. 23 statement from Archbishop Bernard Hebda, the archdiocese reported to law enforcement an allegation of inappropriate conduct that it received against Father Joseph.

Father Thomas Joseph

Tim O’Malley, the archdiocese’s director of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, informed law enforcement that it was the archdiocese’s policy to remove clergy under criminal investigation from ministry during the investigation, and that the archdiocese would not take any action that would interfere with a police investigation.

On Jan. 22, law enforcement notified archdiocesan officials that it was investigating Father Joseph for criminal conduct involving an adult, and removal of Father Joseph from ministry would not interfere with the investigation.

“With that clarification, Father Joseph was removed temporarily from ministry, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation,” Archbishop Hebda said in the statement. “Father’s removal from ministry should not be considered an indication or presumption of guilt.”

In a statement included with the archdiocese’s statement, Father Joseph maintained his innocence and said he was surprised and dismayed by the allegations.

“It is paramount that we as Catholics come together in God’s light to seek the truth,” he said, adding that he understood the need for law enforcement to investigate the allegations and he would cooperate “to clear my good name and the name of the Church.”

Archdiocesan officials are asking anyone with information about the matter to contact their local law enforcement agency.

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Category: Local News

  • Ervin Miller

    I applaud the decisive action to remove this priest from his ministry and let law officials investigate the charges. Of course he is insane until proven guilty, nevertheless I hope this serves as a heads up for those priests who are errant in their moral conduct. High time BIshop’s get tough and weed out the scourge that’s causing so much shame and embarrassing mainstream media stories denigrating our Catholic Churches.

    • Of course, priests do not deserve a presumption of innocence by their bishops.

    • Charles C.

      “Errant in their moral conduct?” “Weed out the scourge?” It doesn’t sound as though you’re willing to think of him as “Insane (sic) until proven guilty.”

      There is the possibility that the charge is false, just like the boy’s accusation of public molestation by our former Archbishop.

      • zaagitoon

        There are still priests in the pulpit guilty of sex abuse. That’s a fact.

        • Charles C.

          Dear zaagitoon,

          You’re probably right, although I say that statistically, I don’t know of any. But even if that’s the case, how does that apply to this story?

          If we know of a priest (or bishop, or cardinal) involved in such a thing we should take appropriate disciplinary steps. If we are uncertain then an investigation should be conducted following steps carefully though out to minimize damage to the innocent while thoroughly determining the facts.

          My objection was not to the actions taken in this case but to the language of a poster who appeared to have made up his mind. (If I understood him correctly.)

          • zaagitoon

            “we should take appropriate disciplinary steps”? Who’s “we”? It should be law enforcement that conducts the criminal investigation.

          • Charles C.

            Dear zaagitoon,

            It doesn’t matter to me who conducts it.

            Various Church officials have been criticized for not conducting investigations, so I suppose you and others would support the Church investigating. If a crime is alleged, then law enforcement should be involved as well.

            But that misses my point:

            “If we are uncertain then an investigation should be conducted following steps carefully thought out to minimize damage to the innocent while thoroughly determining the facts.

            “My objection was not to the actions taken in this case but to the language of a poster who appeared to have made up his mind. (If I understood him correctly.)”

          • zaagitoon

            The Church should not be involved at all. If you recall, Church officials’ “investigations” were cover-ups. And yes, every act of sexual abuse is a crime.

          • Charles C.

            Dear zaagitoon,

            You haven’t dealt with my point. May I assume that it is because you agree with it?

            I appreciate your passion for this issue, but it may have run away with you on the question of Church investigations. You call for no Church investigations ever, but you might want to reconsider based on certain circumstances.

            Assume that a complaint goes to the police and any of the following occurs:

            1.) “Oh, that’s just Billy, he’s always making things up. We won’t waste manpower on this.”

            2.) “Well, it’s just his word against the kid’s word and there’s absolutely no other evidence. We’ll never get a conviction, let it go.”

            3.) “A plea bargain to disorderly conduct? Well, that’s better than nothing, we’ll take it.”

            4.) “We the jury, find the defendant not guilty.”

            With no Church investigation, what right would the Church have to take any action at all? If it’s left to the police and the courts, and there’s no conviction, how can the Church say that a priest deserves punishment?