May 04, 2005

Man Claims Abuse by Priest in '70s

The Ledger

By Cary McMullen
Ledger Religion Editor

LAKELAND -- An allegation was made Monday that a Catholic priest committed sexual abuse in Lakeland during the 1970s. The allegation was made in a neighboring county, but the man making the claim has not come forward to Polk County officials.

The allegation was made to Altamonte Springs police by an unidentified man who said Vernon Uhran, a priest at Church of the Resurrection in Lakeland from 1973 to 1976 and who also served at Santa Fe Catholic High School during that time, sexually abused him. Uhran was dismissed from the ministry in 1992 by Bishop Norbert Dorsey, who was then in charge of the Diocese of Orlando, after similar allegations were lodged against him.

Altamonte Springs police Lt. Chuck Stansel said Tuesday the man called him after an article in the Orlando Sentinel said the diocese recently had been contacted about old, but previously unreported, allegations of abuse by Uhran.

On Monday, an investigator spoke with the man, who said Uhran sexually abused him while Uhran was in Lakeland. Altamonte Springs police took the man's name and referred him to law enforcement agencies in Polk County because that is where the alleged abuse took place, Stansel said.

Neither the Lakeland Police Department nor the Polk County Sheriff's Office has been contacted by anyone making an allegation against Uhran, according to public information officers for those agencies.

Posted by kshaw at May 4, 2005 07:41 AM