Maumee St. Joe former pastor's brush with law isn't his first - News, Weather, Sports, Toledo, OH

Maumee St. Joe former pastor's brush with law isn't his first

Fr. Murd was arrested in 1998 for public indecency. Fr. Murd was arrested in 1998 for public indecency.
Claudia Vercellotti wants the Diocese of Toledo to take stronger action against abusers. Claudia Vercellotti wants the Diocese of Toledo to take stronger action against abusers.

TOLEDO -- The Catholic Diocese of Toledo last week released disturbing news about a priest in Maumee who resigned under suspicious circumstances. Since then, News 11 has learned Fr. Francis Murd has a past, reports News 11's Shelley Brown.

Murd stepped down as pastor of Maumee St. Joseph Parish after Bishop Blair said Murd was under investigation by Sylvania police for improper sexual contact. News 11 has learned Murd had been arrested for public indecency.

He'd also been arrested 10 years ago on the same charge, according to reports in the Fremont News Messenger. Charges against him were eventually dismissed after he completed a diversion program.

The diocesan spokesperson wasn't available for comment on Thursday night, but one sex abuse survivor was.

"Every time there's another development in the ongoing clergy sexual abuse scandal in this diocese, Bishop Blair re-pledges openness, honesty and transparency," says Claudia Vercellotti, co-coordinator of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Vercellotti says records detailing Murd's arrest were sealed.

"Why was Fr. Murd ever in charge of a school? Why was he placed as the lead pastor at any parish? These are sexually oriented crimes," Vercellotti asks. She says this proves cover-ups within the Catholic Church continue.

"If this had been handled in 1998 then maybe there wouldn't be a victim making a police report now," Vercellotti says.

In the same court news, another local priest, Fr. Timothy Kummerer, was also arrested for public indecency. Charges were also later dismissed after he completed a diversion program. The diocesan directory lists Kummerer as pastor of St. Mary's in Defiance.

Survivors of clergy sexual abuse say they want more action.

"We need definitive actions -- not gestures," Vercellotti says. 

Posted by KO

 

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