- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Catholic priest formerly in charge of the Diocese of Arlington’s child protection and safety office was placed on administrative leave while police investigate whether he was involved in sexual misconduct with a boy in the late 1990s, officials said Wednesday.

The Rev. Terry W. Specht, a priest at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Annandale, denied the accusation, according to a statement released by the diocese.

Fairfax County police are investigating the claim, but no charges have been filed.

Bishop Paul S. Loverde said in the statement that he directed the investigation “to review the actions and decisions made by Fr. Specht during his tenure as Director of Child Protection.”

“Any allegations of abuse deepens the pain felt by all Catholics, and particularly survivors of abuse,” he said.

According to the diocese, Father Specht served as director of the diocesan Office of Child Protection and Safety from 2004 to 2011. The website of the diocese says the office is charged with providing “programs to ensure a safe environment for children within the community of the Church.

“Father Specht has been a pastor with Holy Spirit Church for five years, after serving as chaplain and assistant principal at Paul VI Catholic High School in Fairfax from 2000 to 2004.

• Meredith Somers can be reached at msomers@washingtontimes.com.

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