The pastor of St. Christine Catholic Church in Euclid has been suspended because of an allegation he sexually abused a minor in the mid-1970s.
The Cleveland Catholic Diocese said it recently received a complaint that the Rev. Patrick Henry, 65, "engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor" before he was ordained and outside of the eight-county diocese.
Henry was placed on leave after the Diocesan Review Board concluded the allegation was credible. The diocese said Henry's case has been sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican for "its review and determination."
While his case is under review, Henry is not permitted to do priestly ministry or wear clerical attire.
No other details of the incident were made available.
Henry, who was ordained in 1981, could not be reached for comment. The Rev. Joseph Goebel, who answered the phone at St. Christine, said Henry was out of town and the church did not know how to contact him.
In a news release, the diocese said the allegation was reported to civil authorities and that Henry cooperated with the investigation.
The diocese added, "We are deeply sorry for the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to action of some members of the clergy, as nothing is more important than protecting children."
In a letter to St. Christine parishioners, Bishop Richard Lennon asked for prayer "for the individual who brought this concern to the diocese, for Father Henry, and for all those affected by the horror of sexual abuse."
Since the spring of 2002, the diocese has placed 20 priests on leave for sexual abuse allegations.
Two, the Revs. Donald Rooney and Joseph Romansky, have died. The Vatican ordered that three - Alan Bruening, Joseph Lang and Edward Rupp - be removed from ministry.
The cases of the other men remain before the Vatican.