February 24, 2005

In Haiti, American ex-priest maintains access to youth

Duluth News Tribune

The Dallas Morning News

DALLAS - (KRT) - An American questioned this week in connection with a massive jailbreak in Haiti is an admitted child molester whom the Vatican removed from the priesthood.

Ron Voss sought his own expulsion in 1997, and got it a year later. His petition, according to his former Diocese of Lafayette, Ind., included this admission: "My sins are too numerous to detail, but the most grievous gather around the sexual abuse of many adolescent boys, including some minors."

Yet the defrocking hasn't kept him out of Catholic Church work or away from children. Clergy and lay leaders, some knowing of his past, have helped Voss continue a powerful ministry he began in the early 1990s in Haiti, the Western Hemisphere's poorest country.

He has long been a leader in the Parish Twinning Program of the Americas, through which hundreds of Catholic congregations around the United States assist needy ones in Haiti. The Nashville, Tenn.-based charity says it has facilitated aid to Haitian parishes that serve more than 2 million people, about a quarter of the Caribbean nation's population.

The Nashville Diocese, facing questions from clergy-abuse activists and The Dallas Morning News, recently asked twinning program executive Theresa Patterson to cut ties with Voss.

Posted by kshaw at February 24, 2005 07:51 PM