Archdiocese Won't Allow Accused Priest To Serve

November 26, 2009|By Matthew Hay Brown | Matthew Hay Brown,matthew.brown@baltsun.com

The Catholic Archdiocese of Baltimore has concluded that allegations of child sexual abuse against a Cumberland priest are credible and will not allow him to return to active ministry, Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien said.

Monsignor Thomas Bevan, pastor of St. Patrick Church from 1997 until August, has denied the allegations of four people who say he abused them in the 1970s, O'Brien wrote in a letter to parishioners delivered at Mass over the weekend.

The archdiocese removed Bevan, 73, in August pending an investigation into allegations by one man 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 person but concluded that there was not sufficient evidence to remove Bevan.

After the archdiocese announced Bevan's removal in August, two more people 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 accusers knew the others.

O'Brien said counseling assistance had been offered to the four people and to Bevan. O'Brien said Bevan's ability to function as a priest has 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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