Accused priest says he'll cooperate with police investigation

St. Francis Xavier leader faces claim of sex abuse

July 06, 2002|By John Rivera | John Rivera,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore priest accused of sexually abusing a minor has told his superiors that he will cooperate with the police investigation and is available for questioning.

The Rev. Alfred Dean, 42, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in East Baltimore, was relieved of duty after the Archdiocese of Baltimore was informed Wednesday night by police of the allegations against him. Dean, who belongs to the Josephite religious order, was instructed to move out of the rectory to the Josephite headquarters on Calvert Street in Mount Vernon.

"The Josephite Society is saddened and disturbed by the allegations made against one of its members," the religious order said in a statement released yesterday. "Father Dean has informed us that he is available to the civil authorities in their investigation and will cooperate fully."

Dean is accused of inappropriate sexual contact with a 14-year-old boy. No charges have been filed against him, and the police have not yet interviewed Dean, police said yesterday.

The youth told police that in April, after Dean gave him a tour of the church, the priest kissed and fondled him, according to broadcast reports.

Dean is the first priest accused of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Baltimore since the U.S. bishops passed a charter last month in Dallas that permanently removes any priest credibly accused of sexual abuse from the ministry, forbidding that priest from wearing a collar and calling himself "Father." Since Dean belongs to a religious order, he technically is not covered under the charter, although a bishop can bar him from ministry in his diocese.

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men, which represents the 162 male religious orders to which about a third of priests in the country belong, said it will likely consider a similar policy when it meets next month in Philadelphia.

Dean, who was ordained in 1989, is a native of the Bahamas. Before coming to St. Francis Xavier in 2000, he was an associate pastor at St. Veronica Catholic Church in Cherry Hill.

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