Charlotte Diocese releases names of 14 clergy members credibly accused of child sex abuse

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte published Monday a list of 14 clergy members who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse in Charlotte, North Carolina since the diocese was established in 1972.

"It is painful to even try to comprehend such gravely immoral behavior, particularly for those who have carried the burden of sexual abuse by clergy. However, in speaking with survivors and hearing their stories, it is clear to me that making known the names of their abusers can promote healing for them and their families. I pray this step achieves that goal," Reverend Peter J. Jugis, J.C.D.Bishop of Charlotte, said.

The allegations of abuse go back nearly 50 years. Church officials say 14 priests, some no longer alive, have been credibly accused of abusing minors. The Diocese also identified six priests, credibly accused, from Western North Carolina and 23 who moved out of state.

The file review confirmed that no clergy member serving in the Charlotte diocese today has a credible allegation of sexual abuse against him, the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte said this week.

“This issue is heartbreaking,” Reverend Winslow, the Chancellor of the Charlotte Diocese, said. “We’re always expressing our sorrow and our deep regret for any wrong-doing of the past.”

The church acknowledged it did not “respond to allegations as aggressively as it could have” in the past.

“It can help victims feel validated,” Reverend Winslow said, regarding the decision to release the names, “and, perhaps, help them find a little more measure of healing.”

On Sunday, Bishop Peter Jugis told worshipers that there are no credible allegations of abuse against any current clergy member. The church’s year-long review found abuse allegations peaked in the 1970s and dropped two decades ago when zero-tolerance policies were put in place.

“I promise my continued prayers for you, whoever you may be,” Reverend Jugis said. “We hold ourselves accountable for abuses of the past.”

In addition to releasing the names Monday, the Diocese has also created a website and hotline, that will be independently managed, where victims can report alleged instances of sexual abuse and choose to remain anonymous if they wish.

“It’s a positive step that doesn’t go far enough,” Zach Hiner, the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests [SNAP], said. 

SNAP criticized the church for only focusing on priests and not other church employees who have been credibly accused of abuse or charged with that crime.

“I would argue a full accounting would include all of those church staff, deacons, teachers, employed by the Diocese, etc., who have abused children,” Hiner said. “And I think that’s the next step they can take.”

The Diocese’s current policy is to notify police of any allegation of abuse.

Listed are clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor in the Diocese of Charlotte: 

Donald Philip Baker: Diocese of Charlotte

  • Donald Philip Baker: Diocese of Charlotte. Ordained, 1980. Left ministry in 1994. Located at St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church in Lenior. In March of 2017, a man reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that Baker had sexually abused him in his Lenoir parish from 1986 to 1989, when he was a teenager. The diocese alerted Caldwell County DSS, and Lenoir police investigated but did not file charges. At the time of the allegation in 2017, Baker was living in Arizona, where he had relocated in 1991 and worked briefly in the Diocese of Phoenix. Baker left the ministry in 1994. In 2019, after an investigation, the Charlotte diocese’s Lay Review Board deemed the allegation credible and recommended that Baker not be permitted to engage in any ministry. He remains permanently out of ministry.
  • In March of 2017, a man reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that Baker had sexually abused him in his Lenoir parish from 1986 to 1989, when he was a teenager. The diocese alerted Caldwell County DSS, and Lenoir police investigated but did not file charges. At the time of the allegation in 2017, Baker was living in Arizona, where he had relocated in 1991 and worked briefly in the Diocese of Phoenix. Baker left the ministry in 1994.
  • In 2019, after an investigation, the Charlotte diocese’s Lay Review Board deemed the allegation credible and recommended that Baker not be permitted to engage in any ministry. He remains permanently out of ministry.

Charles Jeffries “Jeff” Burton: Society of Jesus-Maryland Province (Jesuits)

  • Charles Jeffries "Jeff" Burton: Society of Jesus-Maryland Province (Jesuits). Ordained in 1967. Removed in 2007. Deceased, 2011. Located at Youth Ministry Center in Flat Rock.  In May of 1994, an adult male reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that Burton made advances and inappropriately touched him in 1982 at a youth ministry center in Flat Rock, when he was 17. Burton had been assigned by his supervising religious order, the Maryland Province of Jesuits, to work in the Charlotte diocese, and was appointed co-director of diocesan youth ministry in Flat Rock. At the time the allegation arose in 1994, Burton had not worked in the diocese for more than a decade. The diocese reported the allegation to his supervising religious order. The Jesuits sent Burton for treatment and then returned him to ministry in New Jersey, the order said in a 2007 statement. The Flat Rock allegation resurfaced in 2007 when the Jesuits conducted a review of their personnel files. The Jesuits said Burton acknowledged the incident and they removed him from ministry. He died in 2011.
  • In May of 1994, an adult male reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that Burton made advances and inappropriately touched him in 1982 at a youth ministry center in Flat Rock, when he was 17. Burton had been assigned by his supervising religious order, the Maryland Province of Jesuits, to work in the Charlotte diocese, and was appointed co-director of diocesan youth ministry in Flat Rock. At the time the allegation arose in 1994, Burton had not worked in the diocese for more than a decade.
  • The diocese reported the allegation to his supervising religious order. The Jesuits sent Burton for treatment and then returned him to ministry in New Jersey, the order said in a 2007 statement. The Flat Rock allegation resurfaced in 2007 when the Jesuits conducted a review of their personnel files. The Jesuits said Burton acknowledged the incident and they removed him from ministry. He died in 2011.

Eugene D. Corbesero: Consolata Society for Foreign Missions

  • Eugene D. Corbesero: Consolata Society for Foreign Missions. Ordained in 1962. Dismissed in1983. Deceased, 2016. Located at Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and New Jersey.  In March of 1995, a man reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that he had been abused by Corbesero when he was a teenager at Our Lady of Consolation Church in Charlotte. The alleged incident occurred sometime between 1973 and 1975. A New Jersey priest who served in five states, Corbesero had been assigned by his supervising religious order to work in the Charlotte diocese during the time of the alleged abuse. His order reassigned him out of state in 1976 and he quit the order in 1981. He formally left the order and was released from the clerical state in 1983. When the allegation was made in 1995, then-Charlotte Bishop William Curlin determined it was credible and alerted Corbesero’s order to verify he was no longer in ministry. In October of 2007, the former priest pleaded guilty and served five years in prison for the 2006 sexual assault of a minor in New Jersey, according to published reports. Corbesero died in 2016
  • In March of 1995, a man reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that he had been abused by Corbesero when he was a teenager at Our Lady of Consolation Church in Charlotte. The alleged incident occurred sometime between 1973 and 1975.
  • A New Jersey priest who served in five states, Corbesero had been assigned by his supervising religious order to work in the Charlotte diocese during the time of the alleged abuse. His order reassigned him out of state in 1976 and he quit the order in 1981. He formally left the order and was released from the clerical state in 1983.
  • When the allegation was made in 1995, then-Charlotte Bishop William Curlin determined it was credible and alerted Corbesero’s order to verify he was no longer in ministry.
  • In October of 2007, the former priest pleaded guilty and served five years in prison for the 2006 sexual assault of a minor in New Jersey, according to published reports. Corbesero died in 2016

Aloysius Joseph D’Silva: Diocese of Charlotte

  • Aloysius Joseph D'Silva: Diocese of Charlotte. Ordained in 1961. Deceased, 2005. Located at St. Bernadette Catholic Mission in Linville.  In December of 1998, a teenager reported D’Silva had inappropriately touched and kissed her at St. Bernadette Catholic Mission in Linville. D’Silva denied the allegation and the Diocese of Charlotte could not substantiate the claim at the time. D’Silva died in 2005. As part of the diocese’s 2019 historical file review, the allegation was re-examined and found credible through an independent investigation.
  • In December of 1998, a teenager reported D’Silva had inappropriately touched and kissed her at St. Bernadette Catholic Mission in Linville. D’Silva denied the allegation and the Diocese of Charlotte could not substantiate the claim at the time. D’Silva died in 2005. As part of the diocese’s 2019 historical file review, the allegation was re-examined and found credible through an independent investigation.

Richard B. Farwell: Diocese of Charlotte

  • Richard B. Farwell: Diocese of Charlotte. Ordained in 1981. Removed in 2002. Convicted in 2004. Located at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury and St. Ann Catholic Church in Charlotte.  In 1999, a woman reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that Farwell had abused her son in the early 1980s, but the then-adult son did not come forward to make a complaint. Farwell had taken leave from the Charlotte diocese in 1998, returned briefly to ministry in Charlotte in 2000, then moved to Florida that same year for a job at Food for the Poor, a charity which provides food and other services to the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean. With no formal complaint against Farwell, then-Charlotte Bishop William Curlin, now deceased, provided the charity a letter of good standing for Farwell. In April of 2002, the victim did come forward and reported to the diocese that Farwell had abused him in 1983, when he was 12 or 13, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury. The diocese alerted Rowan County DSS, which alerted Salisbury police. The diocese immediately removed Farwell’s priestly faculties, and Farwell was subsequently fired from his job at Food for the Poor. In June of 2002, a second allegation against Farwell was reported by the attorney for a man who said Farwell had sexually abused him in 1984, when he was 15, at St. Ann Catholic Church in Charlotte and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury. The diocese informed Salisbury police and Mecklenburg County DSS, which alerted Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. The diocese also referred the allegation to its Lay Review Board. In August of 2002, Farwell was indicted in Rowan County on two felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor. In November of 2004, while denying wrongdoing, Farwell pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and was sentenced to probation. In 2005, after the criminal case concluded, the Lay Review Board deemed the allegations against Farwell credible and recommended he remain out of ministry. A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of both victims in Mecklenburg County Superior Court was dismissed in 2014. Farwell remains permanently out of ministry and resides in Florida.
  • In 1999, a woman reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that Farwell had abused her son in the early 1980s, but the then-adult son did not come forward to make a complaint. Farwell had taken leave from the Charlotte diocese in 1998, returned briefly to ministry in Charlotte in 2000, then moved to Florida that same year for a job at Food for the Poor, a charity which provides food and other services to the poor in Latin America and the Caribbean. With no formal complaint against Farwell, then-Charlotte Bishop William Curlin, now deceased, provided the charity a letter of good standing for Farwell.
  • In April of 2002, the victim did come forward and reported to the diocese that Farwell had abused him in 1983, when he was 12 or 13, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury. The diocese alerted Rowan County DSS, which alerted Salisbury police. The diocese immediately removed Farwell’s priestly faculties, and Farwell was subsequently fired from his job at Food for the Poor.
  • In June of 2002, a second allegation against Farwell was reported by the attorney for a man who said Farwell had sexually abused him in 1984, when he was 15, at St. Ann Catholic Church in Charlotte and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Salisbury. The diocese informed Salisbury police and Mecklenburg County DSS, which alerted Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police. The diocese also referred the allegation to its Lay Review Board. In August of 2002, Farwell was indicted in Rowan County on two felony counts of taking indecent liberties with a minor. In November of 2004, while denying wrongdoing, Farwell pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and was sentenced to probation.
  • In 2005, after the criminal case concluded, the Lay Review Board deemed the allegations against Farwell credible and recommended he remain out of ministry. A civil lawsuit filed on behalf of both victims in Mecklenburg County Superior Court was dismissed in 2014. Farwell remains permanently out of ministry and resides in Florida.

P. Patrick Gavigan: Diocese of Charlotte

  • P. Patrick Gavigan: Diocese of Charlotte. Ordained in 1953. Deceased, 2007. Located at Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Greensboro.  In April of 2002, the Diocese of Charlotte received an allegation from a woman alleging abuse by Gavigan in 1973 at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro, when she was a minor. Ordained for the Trappist Fathers religious order in Conyers, Georgia, Gavigan had been incardinated into the Charlotte diocese in 1972 and retired in 1992. After the allegation was received in 2002, the diocese alerted its Lay Review Board and Guilford County DSS. Gavigan denied the allegation. In its investigation, the Lay Review Board recommended that Gavigan, living in a North Carolina nursing home by that time, be restricted from ministry to minors. He died in 2007.
  • In April of 2002, the Diocese of Charlotte received an allegation from a woman alleging abuse by Gavigan in 1973 at Our Lady of Grace Church in Greensboro, when she was a minor. Ordained for the Trappist Fathers religious order in Conyers, Georgia, Gavigan had been incardinated into the Charlotte diocese in 1972 and retired in 1992.
  • After the allegation was received in 2002, the diocese alerted its Lay Review Board and Guilford County DSS. Gavigan denied the allegation. In its investigation, the Lay Review Board recommended that Gavigan, living in a North Carolina nursing home by that time, be restricted from ministry to minors. He died in 2007.

Adelbert “Del” Holmes: Glenmary Home Mission Society

  • Adelbert "Del" Holmes: Glenmary Home Mission Society. Ordained in 1963. Deceased, 2013. Located in St. William Catholic Church in Murphy, N.C.; Franklin, Ky.; Diocese of Richmond, Va. In October of 2019, Holmes was publicly named on the Ohio-based Glenmary Home Missioners’ list of clergy credibly accused of abuse of a minor. The Diocese of Charlotte had no record of abuse allegations against Holmes but sought more information since the Glenmary society had twice assigned Holmes to work in western North Carolina in the mid-1960s and mid-1970s. In November of 2019, the society told the diocese Holmes had been accused of abusing three minors in 1976 in Murphy, where he served at St. William Catholic Church. The society also said another credible allegation stemmed from Holmes’ subsequent assignment in Franklin, Kentucky. Glenmary said it had received the North Carolina allegations in 1988, while Holmes was living at the society’s headquarters in Cincinnati, and that Holmes had admitted the abuse. According to the society, he was sent for treatment in 1988 and removed from ministry in 1991. Holmes died in 2013. In October of 2019, the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, added Holmes to its list of clergy with credible allegations of abuse that occurred in the Richmond diocese.
  • In October of 2019, Holmes was publicly named on the Ohio-based Glenmary Home Missioners’ list of clergy credibly accused of abuse of a minor. The Diocese of Charlotte had no record of abuse allegations against Holmes but sought more information since the Glenmary society had twice assigned Holmes to work in western North Carolina in the mid-1960s and mid-1970s. In November of 2019, the society told the diocese Holmes had been accused of abusing three minors in 1976 in Murphy, where he served at St. William Catholic Church. The society also said another credible allegation stemmed from Holmes’ subsequent assignment in Franklin, Kentucky.
  • Glenmary said it had received the North Carolina allegations in 1988, while Holmes was living at the society’s headquarters in Cincinnati, and that Holmes had admitted the abuse. According to the society, he was sent for treatment in 1988 and removed from ministry in 1991. Holmes died in 2013.
  • In October of 2019, the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, added Holmes to its list of clergy with credible allegations of abuse that occurred in the Richmond diocese.

Donald J. Joyce: Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate-United States Province

  • Donald J. Joyce: Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate-United States Province. Ordained in 1958. Removed in 1997. Deceased, 2013. Located at Sacred Heart Catholic Mission in Wadesboro, North Carolina and Lowell, Mass.  In April of 2002, a man reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that he had been abused as a minor by Joyce from 1973 to 1976 at Sacred Heart Catholic Mission in Wadesboro. Joyce had been assigned by his supervising religious order to work in the Charlotte diocese. In 2002, the diocese reported the allegation to Union County DSS and Joyce’s order for investigation. The diocese has no information on what action the order may have taken. Joyce had already been removed from ministry in 1997 and was working in an Oblates-run college library in San Antonio, Texas, when the allegation was made. In 2006, a second allegation of abuse in Massachusetts emerged in a lawsuit accusing Joyce of sexually abusing a minor from about 1977 to 1979 at a parish in Lowell, where he had been assigned by his order. In 2019, as part of the diocese’s historical file review, the Wadesboro allegation was referred to the diocese’s Lay Review Board, which deemed the allegation credible.
  • In April of 2002, a man reported to the Diocese of Charlotte that he had been abused as a minor by Joyce from 1973 to 1976 at Sacred Heart Catholic Mission in Wadesboro. Joyce had been assigned by his supervising religious order to work in the Charlotte diocese. In 2002, the diocese reported the allegation to Union County DSS and Joyce’s order for investigation. The diocese has no information on what action the order may have taken. Joyce had already been removed from ministry in 1997 and was working in an Oblates-run college library in San Antonio, Texas, when the allegation was made.
  • In 2006, a second allegation of abuse in Massachusetts emerged in a lawsuit accusing Joyce of sexually abusing a minor from about 1977 to 1979 at a parish in Lowell, where he had been assigned by his order.
  • In 2019, as part of the diocese’s historical file review, the Wadesboro allegation was referred to the diocese’s Lay Review Board, which deemed the allegation credible.

Michael Joseph Kelleher: Trappist-Cistercian religious order, Diocese of Raleigh, Diocese of Charlotte

  • Michael Joseph Kelleher: Trappist-Cistercian religious order, Diocese of Raleigh, Diocese of Charlotte. Ordained in 1953. Retired in 1999. Removed in 2010. Deceased, 2014. Located at Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Church in Albemarle, Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Charlotte, Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Hendersonville, and Charlotte Catholic High School in Charlotte.  In January of 2010, the Diocese of Charlotte contacted Stanly County authorities after learning of an allegation of sexual abuse against Kelleher posted on an online message board. The anonymous writer alleged he had been abused by Kelleher at Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Church in Albemarle in 1977, when he was 14 and Kelleher was pastor there. Kelleher had been retired since 1999, but still served occasionally at Holy Cross Catholic Church and Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Kernersville. The Charlotte diocese investigated and in June of 2010 removed Kelleher’s priestly faculties. In July Albemarle police charged him with one felony count of taking indecent liberties with a child. Kelleher admitted the abuse in a police interview, according to Stanly County Superior Court documents. However, the judge declared ailing Kelleher not competent to stand trial and dismissed the case in July in 2014. Kelleher died a month later. After Kelleher was charged, others came forward to allege Kelleher had also abused them as minors in the 1970s and 1980s, including additional victims in Charlotte and Hendersonville. Law enforcement in Charlotte and Henderson County investigated the claims but did not pursue charges. The diocese’s Lay Review Board found the allegations credible.
  • In January of 2010, the Diocese of Charlotte contacted Stanly County authorities after learning of an allegation of sexual abuse against Kelleher posted on an online message board. The anonymous writer alleged he had been abused by Kelleher at Our Lady of the Annunciation Catholic Church in Albemarle in 1977, when he was 14 and Kelleher was pastor there. Kelleher had been retired since 1999, but still served occasionally at Holy Cross Catholic Church and Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School in Kernersville.
  • The Charlotte diocese investigated and in June of 2010 removed Kelleher’s priestly faculties. In July Albemarle police charged him with one felony count of taking indecent liberties with a child. Kelleher admitted the abuse in a police interview, according to Stanly County Superior Court documents. However, the judge declared ailing Kelleher not competent to stand trial and dismissed the case in July in 2014. Kelleher died a month later.
  • After Kelleher was charged, others came forward to allege Kelleher had also abused them as minors in the 1970s and 1980s, including additional victims in Charlotte and Hendersonville. Law enforcement in Charlotte and Henderson County investigated the claims but did not pursue charges. The diocese’s Lay Review Board found the allegations credible.

Peter Tan Van Le: Diocese of Vinh Long, Vietnam

  • Peter Tan Van Le: Diocese of Vinh Long, Vietnam. Ordained in 1973. Retired in 2011. Removed in 2013. Located at St. Joseph Vietnamese Catholic Church in Charlotte.  In 2013, the Diocese of Charlotte received allegations against Le of sexual abuse of multiple minors at St. Joseph Vietnamese Catholic Church in Charlotte. The diocese alerted its Lay Review Board and Mecklenburg County DSS, which referred the information to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office. The subsequent investigation identified additional victims. Authorities did not prosecute, but the diocese’s Lay Review Board found the allegations credible. In August of 2013, the diocese removed Le’s priestly faculties and alerted his home diocese of Vinh Long, Vietnam, where he had retired in 2011 because of ill health.
  • In 2013, the Diocese of Charlotte received allegations against Le of sexual abuse of multiple minors at St. Joseph Vietnamese Catholic Church in Charlotte. The diocese alerted its Lay Review Board and Mecklenburg County DSS, which referred the information to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and the Mecklenburg County District Attorney’s office. The subsequent investigation identified additional victims. Authorities did not prosecute, but the diocese’s Lay Review Board found the allegations credible. In August of 2013, the diocese removed Le’s priestly faculties and alerted his home diocese of Vinh Long, Vietnam, where he had retired in 2011 because of ill health.

Damion Jacques Lynch: Diocese of Charlotte

  • Damion Jacques Lynch: Diocese of Charlotte. Ordained in 1991. Removed in 1998. Dismissed, 2009. Located at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Boone.  In the mid-1990s, parents of a 14-year-old boy alleged that Lynch molested him from 1991 to 1995, when Lynch served at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Boone. Lynch admitted the abuse and was sent for psychiatric treatment. In 1997, after a counselor cleared Lynch for return to ministry, then-Charlotte Bishop William Curlin appointed Lynch to Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in Charlotte. About that same time, the brother of the initial victim also accused Lynch of abusing him during his time in Boone. Lynch was removed from ministry in January of 1998 and the Diocese of Charlotte settled two lawsuits with the family in Watauga County Superior Court. Lynch was released from the clerical state in 2009.
  • In the mid-1990s, parents of a 14-year-old boy alleged that Lynch molested him from 1991 to 1995, when Lynch served at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Boone. Lynch admitted the abuse and was sent for psychiatric treatment. In 1997, after a counselor cleared Lynch for return to ministry, then-Charlotte Bishop William Curlin appointed Lynch to Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in Charlotte.
  • About that same time, the brother of the initial victim also accused Lynch of abusing him during his time in Boone. Lynch was removed from ministry in January of 1998 and the Diocese of Charlotte settled two lawsuits with the family in Watauga County Superior Court. Lynch was released from the clerical state in 2009.

Justin Paul Pechulis: Diocese of Raleigh, Diocese of Charlotte

  • Justin Paul Pechulis: Diocese of Raleigh and Diocese of Charlotte. Ordained in 1958. Deceased, 1983. Located at St. Lawrence Catholic Church (now Basilica) in Asheville.  In 2008, a civil lawsuit was filed in Buncombe County Superior Court against the Diocese of Charlotte and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by a man alleging he was sexually assaulted at St. Lawrence Catholic Church (now Basilica) in Asheville in 1976 or 1977. The man said he was 15 or 16 at the time of the abuse and named as his assailants Pechulis, who was deceased, as well as a Philadelphia priest and a third unidentified man. Pechulis, a Pennsylvania native and friend of the Philadelphia priest, was pastor of St. Lawrence Catholic Church at the time of the alleged assault. Although Pechulis had died in 1983, civil authorities were notified in Philadelphia and Asheville. Both the Philadelphia and Charlotte review boards investigated the allegation. The Charlotte diocese’s Lay Review Board found the allegation credible in 2008. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2010.
  • In 2008, a civil lawsuit was filed in Buncombe County Superior Court against the Diocese of Charlotte and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia by a man alleging he was sexually assaulted at St. Lawrence Catholic Church (now Basilica) in Asheville in 1976 or 1977. The man said he was 15 or 16 at the time of the abuse and named as his assailants Pechulis, who was deceased, as well as a Philadelphia priest and a third unidentified man. Pechulis, a Pennsylvania native and friend of the Philadelphia priest, was pastor of St. Lawrence Catholic Church at the time of the alleged assault. Although Pechulis had died in 1983, civil authorities were notified in Philadelphia and Asheville. Both the Philadelphia and Charlotte review boards investigated the allegation. The Charlotte diocese’s Lay Review Board found the allegation credible in 2008. The lawsuit was dismissed in 2010.

Donald Francis Scales: Order of St. Benedict (Benedictines)

  • Donald Francis Scales: Order of St. Benedict (Benedictines). Ordained in 1955. Removed in 2006. Deceased, 2008. Located at St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia.  In 2006, a man wrote a letter to the administrator of St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia alleging he had been sexually abused as a minor by Scales at the parish in 1977-1978. Scales had been assigned to the parish by the Benedictines of Belmont Abbey, his supervising religious order. In 1980, Scales relocated to a Benedictine priory in Richmond, Virginia. When the allegation was reported in 2006, the Richmond priory, Belmont Abbey and Gaston County DSS were notified, and DSS alerted the Gaston County District Attorney’s office. Scales denied the allegation. No charges were filed, but the Diocese of Charlotte’s Lay Review Board found the allegation credible and his order removed him from ministry in 2006. He died in 2008.
  • In 2006, a man wrote a letter to the administrator of St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia alleging he had been sexually abused as a minor by Scales at the parish in 1977-1978. Scales had been assigned to the parish by the Benedictines of Belmont Abbey, his supervising religious order. In 1980, Scales relocated to a Benedictine priory in Richmond, Virginia. When the allegation was reported in 2006, the Richmond priory, Belmont Abbey and Gaston County DSS were notified, and DSS alerted the Gaston County District Attorney’s office. Scales denied the allegation. No charges were filed, but the Diocese of Charlotte’s Lay Review Board found the allegation credible and his order removed him from ministry in 2006. He died in 2008.

Robert Yurgel: Capuchin Franciscan Friars-Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis

  • Robert Yurgerl: Capuchin Franciscan Friars-Province of the Sacred Stigmata of St. Francis. Ordained in 1996. Removed in 2008. Convicted in 2009. Dismissed, 2010. Located at St. Matthew Catholic Church in Charlotte, Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church in Charlotte, and St. Michael Catholic Church in Gastonia.  In April of 2008, the Diocese of Charlotte learned of abuse allegations against Yurgel when he was arrested in Passaic, New Jersey, after a man reported to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police that he had been repeatedly abused by Yurgel almost a decade earlier. Yurgel had been assigned by the New Jersey-based Capuchin Franciscans religious order to work at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte from 1997 to 1999. The abuse occurred when the victim was 14 and reportedly took place at several locations including St. Matthew and Our Lady of Consolation churches in Charlotte and St. Michael Church in Gastonia. Yurgel was extradited to Charlotte following his arrest. In February of 2009, he pleaded guilty to felony second-degree sexual offense and served nearly eight years in prison. Yurgel was dismissed from the order and the clerical state in 2010. He was released from prison in August of 2016, ordered to register as a sex offender, and moved to New Jersey, according to published reports. In 2010, a civil lawsuit against the Capuchin Franciscans and the Charlotte diocese was settled.
  • In April of 2008, the Diocese of Charlotte learned of abuse allegations against Yurgel when he was arrested in Passaic, New Jersey, after a man reported to Charlotte-Mecklenburg police that he had been repeatedly abused by Yurgel almost a decade earlier. Yurgel had been assigned by the New Jersey-based Capuchin Franciscans religious order to work at St. Matthew Church in Charlotte from 1997 to 1999. The abuse occurred when the victim was 14 and reportedly took place at several locations including St. Matthew and Our Lady of Consolation churches in Charlotte and St. Michael Church in Gastonia.
  • Yurgel was extradited to Charlotte following his arrest. In February of 2009, he pleaded guilty to felony second-degree sexual offense and served nearly eight years in prison. Yurgel was dismissed from the order and the clerical state in 2010. He was released from prison in August of 2016, ordered to register as a sex offender, and moved to New Jersey, according to published reports.
  • In 2010, a civil lawsuit against the Capuchin Franciscans and the Charlotte diocese was settled.

"To all who have been victimized by Catholic clergy, I apologize on behalf of the diocese and express to you personally my heartfelt sorrow for the physical, emotional and spiritual pain you have suffered. You deserved a priest in whom you could place your trust, a model of Jesus the Good Shepherd. Regrettably, it is clear in our history that the Catholic Church – including this diocese – did not fully understan­­d the pathology of child sexual abuse or respond to allegations as aggressively as it could have, as we do today," Reverend Peter J. Jugis, J.C.D.Bishop of Charlotte, said. 

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