Toledo Diocese Says Priest Had an Affair

TOLEDO -- The Diocese of Toledo will put one of its priests on sabbatical after allegations of an affair surfaced. In a fax to news organizations on Sunday, the Diocese says it will give Father David Nuss some time off after he had an inappropriate relationship with a woman.

According to the fax, Father Nuss had a "consensual but inappropriate" relationship with a woman his age who lived outside the diocese. It happened in the fall of 2006.

In a report to Bishop Leonard Paul Blair dated January 2007, Nuss said he had ended the relationship because it was "immoral" and "incompatible with his priestly promise." The report went on to say that Nuss deeply regretted what had happened, and expressed his desire to live and serve as a priest.

The fax from the Diocese of Toledo went on to point out that while Nuss considered his actions sinful and unacceptable for a priest, the relationship was not "civilly unlawful." Bishop Blair says Nuss will remain a priest, but will take a brief sabbatical. He will then be re-assigned to another parish.

Nuss had been named as the pastor of St. Rose Parish to replace Father Thomas Leyland, a popular pastor there for many years. Some say Leyland was being forced out by the diocese, leading to controversy in the church. Nuss withdrew his name abruptly just before he was about to begin.

In the fax, the Diocese says, "In light of all that happened at Saint Rose Parish regarding the appointment of a new pastor, it would not have been right to subject the parishioners to further controversy at this time."

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests showed News 11 two letters on Sunday that the group claims were sent to the Diocese to report the abuse. The co-director of SNAP says she sent the letters in April.  The fax from the Diocese says the bishop never received them, but Claudia Vercellotti doesn't believe it. "[The diocese] was on notice in April, but clearly they were on notice in January. They didn't follow their own policy again," said Vercelotti.

At St. Rose, life-long parishioner Joanie Foster isn't surprised by the news. She met with the bishop on July 2 when she and two others attempted to convince him to keep Leyland as an associate pastor. "The bishop told us he was sending 'one of my best priests,'" said Foster.

She says she brought up the two SNAP letters them up at the meeting. "The bishop had no knowledge of either one of them," said Foster. "He never received them, is what he told us."

Count on News 11 to follow this story as it develops.

Posted by AEB