Md. Catholic priest suspended over sexual assault allegations

A priest of a Catholic Church and school in Garrett Park, Maryland, has been suspended of his duties over allegations of sexual abuse of minors.

The priest serves at Holy Cross Catholic Church. WTOP is not identifying him because no charges have been filed.

A letter from the Archdiocese of Washington posted on the church’s website says the accusations of sexual abuse of minors date back decades, “prior to his ordination to the priesthood” and in another diocese. The pastor was ordained in 1991.

In a statement to WTOP the archdiocese said, “As we shared in our communication to the parishioners, staff and parents of Holy Cross parish and school on Friday evening, we have just learned of this allegation and we have turned the matter over to law enforcement to investigate.

“Our focus is on meeting the needs of our community, and we will be communicating further with the Holy Cross Catholic parish and school this week. When more information about the law enforcement investigation becomes available, we will be able to respond further.”

An email from the principal at Holy Cross Catholic School indicates the alleged abuse took place in Virginia. The accusations were first made to the Diocese of Arlington, the letter said, adding that parishioners who have any more information should contact the Alexandria police.

The Arlington Diocese, in a statement, told WTOP, “We received the allegation on Friday of last week and immediately provided it to the Archdiocese of Washington and law enforcement. Upon request, we will participate in any archdiocesan or law enforcement investigation.” The Diocese of Arlington has a zero-tolerance policy for abuse; no one with a credible accusation of abuse of minors is serving in the Diocese, the statement also said.

The Alexandria police say no charges have been filed.

The letter from the Archdiocese, signed by the Rev. Anthony Lickteig, said the priest is on administrative leave, and his priestly powers suspended, adding, “He is no longer at the rectory, pending a review of the allegations.”

Kyle Cooper

Anchor and reporter Kyle Cooper, has been with WTOP since 1992. Over those 25 years Kyle has worked as a street reporter, editor and anchor. Prior to WTOP Kyle worked at several radio stations in Indiana, and at the Indianapolis Star Newspaper.

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