March 07, 2006

Indianapolis priest cleared in abuse inquiry

Indianapolis Star

By Robert King

A priest who is the subject of a sex abuse lawsuit has been reinstated to his Eastside parish after an archdiocesan review board found his accuser's allegations not credible.

The Rev. Carlton J. Beever, 57, is the first Indianapolis priest restored to ministry after sex abuse allegations since the archdiocese rewrote its policies in 2004. The revisions were intended to match guidelines set down by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in the wake of the national priest sex abuse scandal.

Beever had spent 18 months away from his parish without pay until he appeared before the St. Philip Neri congregation Sunday with an archdiocesan official who declared Beever's innocence. Beever then presided over the day's Masses.

Beever and Thomas J. Amsden, a former priest who resigned from the ministry in 1995, have maintained their innocence since they were sued in July 2004 by a man who claimed both had abused him while he was an altar boy at a Greensburg parish in the 1970s.

"I've known from the beginning of our innocence. I've known that, and I've lived with it for three years," Amsden said Monday. "It has been extremely heartbreaking. It has been the absolutely worst thing that I have ever gone through."

Posted by kshaw at March 7, 2006 07:03 AM