Charlotte Priest Will Remain Away From Ministry
The pastor of Charlotte’s St. Matthew Catholic Church will remain away from ministry following an investigation into a decades-old allegation of sexual abuse.
In a letter to St. Matthew parishioners this week, Bishop Peter Jugis, the head of the Charlotte Diocese, said he accepted the recommendation of the diocese’s independent Lay Review Board that Father Patrick Hoare remain away from active ministry at this time.
Hoare had been placed on administrative leave last December after someone told the diocese they'd been sexually abused by Hoare about 25 years ago in Pennsylvania.
The alleged abuse would have occurred when the accuser was a minor but before Hoare was a Catholic priest. Hoare has denied the allegations.
In his letter to parishioners, Jugis said although there are no known allegations of abuse during his time in the Charlotte Diocese, there were concerns raised regarding some of Hoare's behavior.
"The Review Board did consider three complaints against Father Hoare alleging several instances of inappropriate physical contact with minors that were observed by others in group settings at St. Matthew and St. John Neumann parishes," Jugis wrote. "These complaints were reported recently and did not constitute sexual abuse but involved a hug, rubbing the shoulders or abdomen of a minor, and being “very touchy.” The Review Board concluded such behavior represented boundary violations that raised questions about Father Hoare’s judgment."
Jugis says Father John Allen will continue as administrator of St. Matthew.
Late last year the Charlotte Diocese released a list of clergy members credibly accused of sexual misconduct and abuse.
Before the list was released, WFAE published a four-part investigative podcast series, "The List," focusing on the process. The series, hosted and reported by Sarah Delia, examines the impact of the child sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church and the process of creating lists of credibly accused clergy.