Archbishop addresses reaction on accused priest
April 13, 2010
DENVER (AP) – The Denver archbishop who removed a Roman Catholic priest from active duty a day after a man accused the priest of sexual misconduct with a minor in the 1970s says prompt action is painful but necessary.
Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput (SHAP’-yoo) relieved Father Mel Thompson, of St. Thomas More Parish in Centennial, of his duties Thursday.
Thompson has maintained his innocence.
In his weekly column Monday, Chaput said some have voiced frustration with the speed of the archdiocesan response, as an investigation continues. Yet he defended his decision.
He wrote, “Prompt action is painful for the whole local Church, but it’s a necessary course to protect people’s trust in their parish and in the archdiocese.”
Nevertheless, Jeb Barrett, Denver director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, described the church’s actions as “too little too late.”
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“We’re still waiting for them to fulfill the kind of transparency that they promised back in 2000 and 2002 when the issue started to be noticed by the public,” Barrett said. “Until they open the records and allow us to see where there are allegations, no one knows what priest, bishop or nun can be trusted.”