Priest at Ballantyne parish on administrative leave after sex abuse allegation

Priest at Ballantyne parish on administrative leave after sex abuse allegation

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte priest at one of the largest Catholic churches in the country was placed on administrative leave Monday after being accused of sexually abusing a minor.

In a statement, Bishop Peter Jugis said Father Patrick Hoare is facing allegations of sexual abuse from when he worked in Pennsylvania 25 years ago, before he joined the ministry.

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The victim, who is now an adult, reported his allegation to the Charlotte Diocese on Sunday, according to a letter sent to parishioners.

He and the Charlotte Diocese have been in touch with police and the diocese said it will cooperate in any investigation. Once complete, it will refer the allegation for an internal investigation to determine credibility.

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Hoare has denied the allegations. He has been placed on administrative leave, which is protocol and does not imply guilt, Jugis said.

(Father Patrick Hoare)

"I immediately said the Lord's Prayer and my Hail Mary," Anne Price told anchor Allison Latos on Tuesday.

Price said her family knows the traumatic pain of sexual abuse too well.

In 2017, the Prices spoke with Latos about the abuse their son endured at the hands of Father Robert Yurgel at St. Matthew in the 1990s.

Price remembers teaching children about faith alongside Hoare before he entered the priesthood.

“I would like people of all faiths to, No. 1, pray for the victim,” she said. “But, also pray for the accused because both need prayers."

Last year, Hoare released a statement on the Pennsylvania grand jury report that blew the doors open on the Catholic church sexual abuse scandal. The report claimed more than 300 priests abused more than 1,000 children.

Hoare said the release of that report "reminds us once again of the terrible crimes that were committed by some members of the clergy, and reveals inexcusable instances of poor judgment, deception and negligence in the pastoral care of the victims of sexual abuse."

He said then that the reports also cause him and several priest friends of his "great pain."

The allegation against Hoare comes as the Charlotte Diocese promises to release a list of clergy credible accused of child sex abuse by the end of the year.

The diocese hired U.S. Investigative Security Services out of Huntersville to review thousands of personnel records.

The security service’s Facebook page touts "experience and integrity from the best law enforcement professionals."

The report will stretch back to the Charlotte Diocese's 1972 inception, but victims’ advocates also want to know how church leaders handled each case.

“There is also a cover up element to a lot of these crimes,” said Zach Hiner, executive director for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “I think it is important for the church to demonstrate if they really want people to see how they have changed and the strive they have made.”

There's no rule or standard for how much information has to be included on each diocese's list.

Latos asked Charlotte leaders if they plan to share dates and locations of the abuse, the accused clergy's assignment histories and how each case was handled.

She is waiting for a response.

Monday's announcement comes amid the Charlotte Diocese's investigation into new credible allegations against Monsignor Maurico West.

He resigned as the second most prominent official in the diocese in March following a credible allegation of sexual misconduct.

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