Cumberland pastor indicted on child abuse charges

Baltimore Sun/February 5, 2010

Frederick County authorities have filed child abuse charges against a Catholic priest for alleged offenses against an altar boy in 1976, the Associated Press reports.

Monsignor Thomas Bevan, 73, of Cascade, who was removed as pastor of St. Patrick Church in Cumberland last August, was released on $25,000 bail Thursday, the AP reports. He was indicted on two counts of child abuse Jan. 22 but the charges were kept sealed until Thursday, when an arrest warrant was served.

Assistant State's Attorney Lindell Angel says Bevan sexually abused a 10-year-old boy in 1976 when Bevan was associate pastor of St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Frederick, the AP reports.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore removed Bevan in August pending an investigation into allegations by an individual that Bevan abused him on a number of occasions when he was a student at the parish school of St. John Catholic Church in Frederick during the mid-1970s. In 2005, the archdiocese had investigated a similar allegation by a different individual, but concluded that there was not sufficient evidence at the time to remove him.

After the archdiocese announced Bevan's removal in August, two more individuals reported that he had abused them when they were students at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel School in Middle River during the mid-1970s, O'Brien said. None of the individuals knew any of the others.

In November, the archdiocese concluded that allegations of child sexual abuse against Bevan were credible and announced it would not allow him to return to active ministry. Bevan denied the allegations of the four individuals, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien wrote in a letter to parishioners at St. Patrick.

O'Brien said counseling assistance had been offered to the four individuals and to Bevan. O'Brien said Bevan's faculties to function as a priest have been permanently revoked, and Bevan has agreed that he will no longer act publicly as a priest.

Ordained in 1963, Bevan was associate pastor at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Middle River from 1963 to 1974, associate pastor of St. John in Frederick from 1974 to 1979 and pastor of St. Mark in Fallston from 1979 to 1991. He was a temporary administrator at St. Mary in Cumberland from 1991 to 1992 and at St. Patrick in Mount Savage in 1992.

While at Mount Carmel, he taught at the parish high school; while at St. John, he taught at Mount St. Mary's. He also has been executive director of the Secretariat for Priestly Life & Ministry for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (now the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops), and has worked in the archdiocese's Office of Clergy Education.

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