May 19, 2006

Episcopal priest resigns in wake of sexual abuse allegations


May 19, 2006, 9:40 AM EDT

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) _ A 79-year-old Episcopal priest has resigned after a five-month investigation of allegations he sexually abused a boy in the 1970s while serving as rector of a church in Owego, diocesan officials said.

Ralph E. Johnson voluntarily renounced his orders but has not admitted guilt, said Bishop Gladstone Adams.

Johnson has no clerical authority, cannot perform the sacraments and cannot wear a clerical collar, Adams said. Johnson, who was retired but could still act as a priest, retains his pension from the 16,000-member Syracuse-based diocese.

In an affidavit given to the diocese, a former Owego resident said Johnson molested him at least 20 times in the St. Paul's Church rectory and at a cabin in Gibson, Pa. The man, who was about 15 at the time, now lives in Florida.

Posted by kshaw at May 19, 2006 11:49 AM