Bishop releases statement on sexual misconduct allegations against priest - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Bishop releases statement on sexual misconduct allegations against priest

On Tuesday, April 13, 2010, the Diocese of Baton Rouge received an allegation of sexual misconduct from an adult man against a priest from this diocese, Fr. Tom Duhe, pastor of St. Thomas More Church in Baton Rouge. The person bringing the charge, who has asked that his identity remain private, alleges the misconduct occurred over a decade ago, when he was between 12 and 15 years old. This is the only such complaint the diocese has ever received about Fr. Duhe.

Our diocesan victims' assistance coordinator, Mrs. Amy Cordon, in meeting with the person making the accusation, extended assistance on behalf of the diocese. Following our own policy when an allegation is made, and in compliance with the U.S. Bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a task force of three trained lay persons was appointed to look into this matter. The task force subsequently determined that the case merited further investigation. Such investigation will now be carried out by another team of experts whose findings will be submitted to the Independent Review Board, which will, in turn, make its recommendation to me.

In accord with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, and diocesan policy for this type of situation, Fr. Duhe has been placed on administrative leave, had his clerical faculties withdrawn, and is restricted from any public ministry while this investigation takes place. It is important to underscore that these actions which the diocese has taken imply neither guilt nor innocence on the part of Fr. Duhe, nor will any conclusion be reached until the investigation is complete. Fr. Chris Decker, St. Thomas More Parochial Vicar, has been appointed temporary administrator of that church parish.

Also, the diocese promptly notified civil officials of the allegation and assured them of our full cooperation.

We are profoundly saddened by this allegation and pray that God's healing grace will come upon all involved - anyone who might or who has been hurt in this matter, as well as Fr. Duhe himself.

If anyone has any information about this or any other circumstance regarding sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy, a religious, an employee or a volunteer in the Diocese of Baton Rouge, please contact Mrs. Amy Cordon, in the Diocesan Victims' Assistance Office at 242-0250. Thank you.

-Bishop Robert W. Muench
 Bishop of Baton Rouge

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