In this June 9, 2019 photo, Father Eduard Perrone conducts a choir during mass at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin March Parish in Detroit. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday, July 7 that it has removed Perrone from public ministry after receiving what it described as a “credible allegation” that he had abused a child decades ago. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Prominent U.S. priest removed from pulpit after ‘credible allegation’ of sex abuse

Some parishioners expressed shock when they heard, and one woman walked out of the service to gather herself outside

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday that it removed a prominent priest from public ministry after reviewing what it described as a “credible allegation” that he had sexually abused a child decades ago.

The Rev. Eduard Perrone was suspended from ministry Friday, a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone had groped him.

Archdiocese officials told Perrone’s congregation at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish during services Sunday that members of the local archdiocese review board found a “semblance of truth” to the accusations, but that they are maintaining a presumption of innocence.

Some parishioners expressed shock when they heard, and one woman walked out of the service to gather herself outside. After Mass, a number of people stopped at the back of the church to ask questions of two archdiocesan officials and pick up a written statement about Perrone.

The pastor is prohibited from representing himself as a priest or wearing clerical attire while the Vatican reviews the allegations, the archdiocese said in the written statement.

The statement also said the archdiocese had reported the allegation to local law enforcement and the Michigan attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office declined to comment last month, but it has an open investigation into clergy abuse in the Catholic Church in Michigan and charged five men who were priests with 21 counts of sexual misconduct in May.

The Detroit Archdiocese on Sunday added Perrone’s name to its list of dozens of credibly accused priests, many deceased.More than 140 religious orders and Roman Catholic dioceses have released similar lists. Most of those lists were either released or significantly updated since a Pennsylvania grand jury last summer detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse.

READ MORE: Searing testimony heard at Vatican sex abuse summit

Perrone, who co-founded a non-profit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii in 2002 to support priests facing allegations of abuse or other problems, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday. At the rectory where he lived, a woman who answered the door said there was “no way” to reach Perrone and asked a reporter to pray for the priest.

Last month he denied any wrongdoing when the AP asked him about the allegations that years ago, he would invite altar boys to his mother’s lake house where he would wrestle with them in the water for hours. At times, the wrestling turned to inappropriate grabbing and groping, said a former altar boy who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to protect his privacy.

Perrone said it was the first he heard of any allegations against him.

“Never inappropriate touching,” he said. “I never ever would have done such a thing.”

He said other adults were always in attendance when they gathered at the lake house and everyone was “fully clothed.”

Perrone also denied allegations from two individuals that he served wine to minors, but then went on to describe offering wine to a child.

“I mean I may have had wine in their presence,” he said, “but I’ve never given them a drink. In fact one time I remember being with one of our altar boys and his dad in the rectory and I said, ‘Do you want him to have a little bit of this glass of wine?’ that we were drinking and it wasn’t the dad, it was the kid that said, ‘No, I don’t want any of that.’ Never drinking wine.”

Three other former altar boys interviewed by AP said they never experienced or even heard of sexual abuse by Perrone, though one said Perrone struck his head with a book for misbehaving and another said that as a child he was afraid the priest would hit him. They also spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their privacy.

For 25 years, Perrone has presided over his church, known locally as Assumption Grotto, an imposing stone edifice encircled by abandoned lots in downtown Detroit. An archconservative who has criticized liberal values and homosexuality within the Catholic church, Perrone offered Mass in Latin, preaching strict sermons to some-600 congregants on Sundays, often scolding them for not being true believers and for being ungrateful and impure.

In a recent parish newsletter, Perrone wrote about the impact of sexual abuse and other misconduct within the church.

“The real shame is not the publicity of horrid, secret sins but the venting of lewd passion, the foul degradation of the flesh, the mortal sins committed,” he wrote. “Where did holiness go?”

ALSO READ: Only 3% of Canadian adults fully vaccinated: B.C. pharmacist

Mike Householder And Martha Mendoza, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Calls for dialogue as Coastal GasLink pipeline polarizes some in northern B.C.

Coastal GasLink is building the 670-kilometre pipeline from British Columbia’s northeast to Kitimat on the coast

Water movement increased in Houston reservoirs

Measure in response to 2019 boil water notice

Crown won’t appeal sentence in child sex assault case of former Burns Lake mayor

B.C. Prosecution Service said sentence doesn’t meet standard for appeal

Miscommunication led to three people turned away at pipeline checkpoint: RCMP

Mounties were installing new access procedures after checkpoint was set up for Coastal GasLink site

Pipeline at centre of B.C. conflict is creating jobs for First Nations: chief

All 20 elected band councils along the Coastal GasLink pipeline route have signed benefits agreements

‘Like an ATM’: World’s first biometric opioid-dispensing machine launches in B.C.

First-of-its-kind dispensing machine unveiled in the Downtown Eastside with hopes of curbing overdose deaths

B.C. society calls out conservation officer after dropping off bear cub covered in ice

Ice can be seen in video matted into emaciated bear cub’s fur

Horgan cancels event in northern B.C. due to security concerns, says Fraser Lake mayor

The premier will still be visiting the city, but the location and day will not be made public

B.C. landlord sentenced to two years in jail for torching his own rental property

Wei Li was convicted of intentionally lighting his rental property on fire in October 2017

PHOTOS: Eastern Newfoundland reeling, search underway for missing man after blizzard

More than 70 centimetres of new snow fell overnight, creating whiteout conditions

Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

‘Harry, Meghan and Archie will always be much loved members of my family,’ says Queen Elizabeth II

Coastal GasLink repeats desire for meeting with hereditary chiefs

Coastal GasLink says they’re ready to meet with the hereditary chiefs at their convenience

Closed mills, housing surge support a positive forecast for lumber industries

B.C. lumber producers have closed mills accounting for 18% of province’s capacity, RBC report says

Good Samaritan pays part of rent for B.C. woman facing eviction in can-collecting dispute

Zora Hlevnjak, 76, supplements her pension by collecting cans and receiving public donations

Most Read