March 19, 2005

Q&A: Clark sees communication breakdown

Democrat & Chronicle

Gary Craig
Staff writer

(March 19, 2005) On Friday, Bishop Matthew Clark answered questions for the first time since the arrest earlier this month of the Rev. Michael Volino on federal charges of receipt and possession of child pornography. In 2002, the diocese sent Volino to St. Luke's Institute, a church-run psychiatric facility in Silver Spring, Md. Counselors there cautioned that Volino should not be left alone with children or work in school settings. The diocese has been accused of ignoring some of those recommendations while Volino, now 41, continued to work as a priest in Monroe County, most recently with the St. John the Evangelist Church in Greece. Below is a transcript edited for length and clarity of an interview Friday of Bishop Clark by reporter Gary Craig.

Question: Going back to 2002 ... can you say what prompted the decision for the St. Luke's assessment of Father Volino?

Clark: In general, there were concerns in the community by people who care very much for Father Volino about maturity and development ... in a young adult male of his age. There was thought that if we could invite him to an evaluation of those elements in his life that it might afford an opportunity for growth and better self-understanding. It's probably a good place to make the point, in the context of your question, that there was not then, nor has there been since then, any kind of allegation against him of sexual misconduct or the abuse of children.

When you talk about some concerns within the community that led to sending Volino to St. Luke's, are you talking about a couple of people raising issues? More than a couple?

Clark: It wasn't a great groundswell. And, to be honest with you, I don't remember exactly and precisely who they were. (They were) friends and colleagues of Father Michael and those who cared about him."

Posted by kshaw at March 19, 2005 06:30 AM