January 04, 2005

St. Timothy's pastor agrees to treatment

Cincinnati Enquirer

By Mike Rutledge
Enquirer staff writer

UNION - A year-old allegation of inappropriate behavior with an adult woman was not substantiated, but Father Mark Witte, pastor of St. Timothy Church, has stepped down - at least temporarily - to undergo residential treatment in Virginia, Witte and Covington Bishop Roger J. Foys have announced.

Witte delivered the news during his Sunday homily. The Diocese of Covington did not plan to elaborate until next Sunday, when a letter from Foys was to be read during Masses at St. Timothy. But diocese officials decided Monday that would be too long to wait, and released Foys' letter.

"A year ago an allegation of inappropriate behavior with an adult woman was made public against your pastor, Father Mark Witte," the bishop's letter said. "At the time, we pledged that a thorough investigation would be undertaken. This has been done. Father Witte has also willingly undergone a thorough evaluation. The entire matter was submitted to our Diocesan Misconduct Review Board.

"As you know, Father Witte has admitted to having violated boundaries with adult women in the past and has expressed his regret and apologies for the pain this has caused," Foys' letter continued. "He has undergone outpatient counseling in the past two years.

"The recommendation of our Misconduct Review Board is that, while the allegation which was lodged last year was not substantiated, Father Witte undertake a period of residential treatment during which time he can deal with these matters," Foys' letter said. "I have accepted that recommendation and Father Witte has agreed to it."

Posted by kshaw at January 4, 2005 09:16 AM