- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) - An Omaha man has reported he was molested as a child 30 years ago by a religious order priest, according to the Omaha Archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church.

The archdiocese said in a written release Friday that the priest, who died in 2012, was an associate pastor in the Holy Ghost Parish in Omaha in the mid-1980s. The man who reported the sexual abuse said he and his family were members of the parish at the time.

The Associated Press generally does not name those who report being victims of sexual assault. The AP also is not naming the accused priest, as he was not criminally charged and church officials have not completed their investigation into the allegation.

The Order of Augustinian Recollects - based in New Jersey - founded Holy Ghost in 1918. It provided the parish with pastors from its ranks until leaving Omaha and transferring Holy Ghost to the archdiocese in 1986.

Deacon Tim McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese, said the archdiocese learned of the allegation on Dec. 30 and that the allegation was reported to local law enforcement and the order’s headquarters.

But the archdiocese hadn’t told Holy Ghost parishioners. Parishioners will be told about the allegation for the first time on Sunday, McNeil said.

The archdiocese tries to notify a parish within weeks of receiving an allegation or following the completion of a preliminary investigation, he said, but the archdiocese only recently learned the specifics of the allegations. McNeil also indicated that the complainant was reluctant to cooperate with the order’s investigation.

“We don’t know when the investigation will end,” McNeil said. “Therefore, out of an abundance of caution, we are notifying parishioners, even though (the priest’s) guilt or innocence has not been determined.”

Because the priest belonged to the Augustinian Recollects, the order is carrying out the investigation, McNeil said.

“The archdiocese is serving as a liaison between the complainant and the religious order,” McNeil said. “We referred (the complainant) to an outside counselor.”

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