January 05, 2005

Indiana bishop defends handling of Florida misconduct case

The Ledger

The Associated Press
GARY, Ind.

A Roman Catholic bishop said he did not act sooner against a priest accused of sexual misconduct with a minor in Florida because police and church investigators had trouble contacting the alleged victim.

Bishop Dale Melczek also said the Rev. Richard Emerson, suspended last month as pastor of Notre Dame Church in Long Beach, Ind., has denied any sexual misconduct with his accuser.

A Florida man now 29 notified the Catholic Diocese of Orlando on May 25 that he had been abused by Emerson when the priest worked there from 1987 to 1991. The alleged victim said the sexual acts occurred in Florida when he was between the ages of 11 and 18. The Diocese of Gary and Melczek were notified on May 27.

Melczek waited for Orlando police to complete their investigation before his diocesan emergency response team conducted its investigation, he told the Post-Tribune of Merrillville for a story published Wednesday. The Orlando Diocese had turned the case over to the police.

Posted by kshaw at January 5, 2005 06:54 AM