LANCASTER (CBS) — A priest at Immaculate Conception Parish has been placed on administrative leave over a child abuse charge, the Diocese of Worcester announced Sunday.
A prepared statement released by the diocese includes the text of an announcement made at Sunday Masses in the church by Robert McManus, bishop of Worcester.
“I come before you today with a saddened heart to announce that I have placed Father Edward P. Lettic on administrative leave due to a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor which took place forty years ago,” McManus told parishioners. “Recently the victim came forward to the diocese with this allegation, which has been investigated with the oversight of the Diocesan Review Committee. It is the first and only report of an allegation of misconduct which we have received involving Father Lettic. Because of the serious nature of the allegation, and consistent with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, I must relieve Father Lettic of his duties as pastor of the parish and remove his faculties as a priest.”
The identity of the accuser was not released.
Lettic was ordained a priest at the Diocese of Worcester in 1973, according to the diocese. He has served as an associate pastor at St. Joan of Arc, Worcester; St. Denis, East Douglas; and St. Joseph in Auburn, as well as a chaplain at Westborough State Hospital before being named pastor of Immaculate Conception in Lancaster in 1993.
McManus told parishioners that he planned to appoint a “temporary administrator to oversee the pastoral life of the parish until a new pastor is named.”
The bishop said church officials were investigating Lettic and would set a penalty if the allegation is proven.
“In keeping with the Norms issued by the Holy See following adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, a canonical process has begun including a report of the allegation to the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith in Rome,” McManus said. “The result of that canonical process, if found guilty of the allegation, could include removal from the clerical state or a sanction such as a life of prayer and penance.”
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