Sexual abuse investigation of Rapid City priest ends
RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - The investigation of a Catholic priest who was accused of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in South Dakota has ended; and while the allegation couldn’t be proven, the Church stated the priest will “remain out of public ministry.”
Rev. Michel Mulloy was removed from public ministry in August 2020 following the allegation presented to the Diocese of Rapid City that a minor was abused in the early 1980s. Mulloy had served in the dioceses of Sioux Falls and Rapid City, where he was vicar general.
The allegation came around the time Mulloy was named bishop-elect of the Diocese of Duluth. He resigned from that post the next month, September 2020.
Bishop Peter M. Muhich, Diocese of Rapid City, issued a statement Friday about Mulloy.
In that statement, Muhich said a canonical proceeding was conducted by people who were not connected with the Diocese of Rapid City. That proceeding, he stated, could not determine with certainty “either that the allegation was substantiated or that the allegation lacks foundation.”
Still, the Church determined Mulloy would remain out of public ministry.
“In the Diocese of Rapid City, we remain steadfast in our commitment to protect the most vulnerable, and to accompany those on a journey of healing who have been harmed,” the bishop said in the release.
The diocese stressed that anyone who has suffered sexual abuse should contact their local law enforcement agency or the Department of Family Services. Then, they can contact the chancellor, Sr. Christine Hernandez, SCTJM, at 605-343-3541.
Father Mulloy put out a statement Friday afternoon, saying, in part, “I am hurt and saddened by the decision to deny me a public ministry in the Diocese of Rapid City. My heart is broken. The decision of the tribunal in Omaha was that I was not guilty of this alleged abuse.”
He also said, “I was hoping for a reconciliation that would allow me to return to some form of the public ministry that I have loved for 44 years.”
STATEMENT FROM FATHER MICHEL MULLOY:
“I am hurt and saddened by the decision to deny me a public ministry in the Diocese of Rapid City. My heart is broken. The decision of the tribunal in Omaha was that I was not guilty of this alleged abuse. In church trials, a verdict of not guilty means that the accusation was not proven due to reasonable doubt. In an email after the decision was made, the Omaha judge said, “It is important not to read this as an inconclusive decision; he is not guilty of this crime and is presumed to be innocent of this crime.” With this decision by the church officials in Omaha, I was hoping for a reconciliation that would allow me to return to some form of the public ministry that I have loved for 44 years, for and with the people of the diocese. However, I am bound by my vow of obedience to the bishop and I hope he will return me to public ministry in the future. Any further questions should be addressed to the Bishop of the Diocese of Rapid City.”
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