Priest placed on leave after sexual misconduct allegations

Observer & Eccentric/October 11, 2012

A retired priest who assisted with services at Our Lady of Sorrows church was placed on administrative leave on Friday after the Archdiocese of Detroit "deemed substantive" two allegations of sexual misconduct involving two minors.

The Rev. Loren O'Dea, 83, of Waterford was placed on leave and restricted from any public ministry. The allegations date back just prior to O'Dea's ordination in 1993, before he was an associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows, according to the archdiocese.

Information about the allegations, which was received in recent weeks, was turned over to the Oakland County Prosecutor's Office.

The Archdiocese of Detroit commissioned an investigation that found the complaints to be "of sufficient substance to require the placement of restrictions on O'Dea prohibiting him from performing any public ministry or presenting himself as a priest," according to a press release on the archdiocese's website.

O'Dea could not be reached for comment for this story.

O'Dea was ordained in 1993, began serving as associate pastor at Our Lady of Sorrows, then retired in 1997.

Archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath said O'Dea continued to say masses at Our Lady of Sorrows until O'Dea was placed on leave.

The review board acts as an advisory board, but the decision to place a priest on administrative leave comes from Archbishop Allen Vigneron. "There is no timetable," McGrath said about the church's investigation of the allegations.

"It is very early in the process," McGrath said. The allegation was "deemed credible, but it doesn't mean we've made a final judgment," McGrath said.

The archdiocese did not receive complaints about O'Dea from that parish, McGrath said. McGrath, who is not a member of that parish, said, "I think most people in the parish appreciated him."

McGrath said the Archdiocese of Detroit was saddened by the allegations. "It's a sad day for everybody involved. Last weekend the pastor told the parishioners to keep everyone in our prayers," a point also reiterated by the archdiocese, McGrath said.

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