Homosexual priest admits abusing boys. Episcopal priest leaves church.

David Virtue DVirtue236 at AOL.COM
Tue Dec 31 01:57:38 EST 2002


Homosexual Episcopalian priest admits abusing boys. Accused of abuse,
Episcopalian-town priest leaves church

Cape Cod Times

PROVINCETOWN, Mass--The pastor of The Church of Saint Mary of the
Harbor, an Episcopal Church, admitted to sexually molesting a minor in
Maryland in the 1960s and left the priesthood and the town.

Last Thursday a 48 year-old man informed the Baltimore, Maryland
diocese that he had been sexually molested by Rev. Andrew Barasda, then
a priest in the victim's parish. The abuse began in 1966 when the
victim was 14 and continued until 1968, according to Diocesan
spokesperson Kenneth Arnold, who said the allegations were credible and
detailed.

The next day Bishop Bud Cederholm of the Massachusetts diocese
confronted Barasda with the allegations. Barasda admitted his guilt and
was immediately suspended. He renounced his orders yesterday. Arnold
said Barasda had already left Provincetown. Arnold said he didn't know
where Barasda was.

Barasda has served in the ministry for around 40 years, although Arnold
did not have the exact date of his ordination. He said no other
allegations have surfaced since last Thursday. Barasda has been at
Saint Mary's since 1998. Arnold said Barasda would be able to keep his
pension and other benefits.

As for Christmas services, the diocese has arranged for other priests
to fill in and services will go on as scheduled. The church has its
annual Christmas pageant at 4 p.m. this afternoon, and a Mass tonight,
as well as the usual 10 a.m. Christmas Day service.

The Episcopal Church has had a process in place for decades that deals
with allegations of misconduct by priests. After learning of charges
against a member of the clergy, the bishop confronts that person and
asks whether he/she admits or denies the charges. If they deny the
charges, they are subject to an ecclesiastical trial. Arnold said there
have been two other instances of abuse of a minor in the diocese in the
past two decades.

Unlike Roman Catholic priests who have taken a vow of celibacy, the
Episcopalian priests can marry. In some diocese, including
Massachusetts, priests can be openly gay, something Barasda has
publicly acknowledged.

"From our point of view, the issue is about the abuse of power, that
when a priest acts in any way that violates the confidence and trust of
a parish whether with a child or an adult, whether as a heterosexual or
homosexual, it's about the abuse of power. His sexual orientation
wouldn't have mattered," said Arnold.

END




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