November 19, 2005

Ashwell ejected from priesthood

WASHINGTON
Whidbey News Times

By Jessie Stensland
Nov 19 2005
Barry Ashwell, former pastor of St. Augustine Parish in Oak Harbor, was defrocked by Pope Benedict XVI over child sexual abuse allegations, the Archdiocese of Seattle announced this week.
Ashwell, 62, could not be reached for comment, but he has adamantly denied any wrongdoing in the past. Ashwell was pastor of St. Augustine from 1978 to 2000.
Greg Magnoni, spokesman for the Archdiocese, said Ashwell was dismissed from the clerical state, or laicized, which means he can no longer function in any way as a priest. Hes not allowed to perform last rites, marriages or other sacraments.
Under federal law, Ashwell will retain his retirement plan.
The Archdiocese placed Ashwell on administrative leave in September 2001 after an initial allegation of sexual abuse.
Magnoni said four men have accused Ashwell of sexually abusing them as children. The Archdiocese has settled one lawsuit involving Ashwell and two others are pending. Three of the alleged incidents occurred in the 1970s, before Ashwell came to Oak Harbor.

Posted by kshaw at November 19, 2005 01:35 PM