Posted: Apr 30, 2012 12:31 AM EDT
By Kristen Johnson, Multimedia Journalist/ Weekend Anchor
NORFOLK, Neb. (AP) -
A former Norfolk, Nebraska priest has been placed on administrative leave from the Archdiocese of Omaha, amid an allegation of sex abuse.
An internal review board found the allegation that Reverend Franklin Dvorak abused a female student from 1970 to 1972 credible.
Dvorak denies the claim.
The diocese says Dvorak was at Sacred Heart Parish in Norfolk at the time of the alleged abuse.
Dvorak was placed on leave Friday from St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish in Omaha, where he’s been since
Priest On Administrative Leave, Allegation Of Sexual Abuse
The Rev. Franklin Dvorak, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Parish in Omaha
Posted: 2:54 PM Apr 29, 2012
Email Address: firstname.lastname@example.org
An Omaha priest has been put on administrative leave by Archbishop George Lucas after an allegation of sexual abuse.
The Rev. Franklin Dvorak, pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Parish in Omaha, is accused of sexually abusing an 18-year-old female student between 1970 and 1972. He denies the allegation.
A letter written by Archbishop Lucas informing parishioners of the allegation was given to St. Elizabeth Ann and St. James parishioners at weekend Masses.
Deacon Timothy F. McNeil, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Omaha, said the allegation was reported to law enforcement officials and the Archdiocesan Review Board.
McNeil said the board concluded after hearing the results of a preliminary investigation that the evidence met the church’s standard for a credible allegation.
Archbishop Lucas must now refer the case to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome. The CDF has sole competence in resolving allegations of sexual abuse of minors committed by clerics.
The CDF will review the findings of the investigation and make a decision about what happens next. The CDF could rule that there is not sufficient evidence of the commission of an ecclesiastical crime. Or the CDF may remand the case to Archbishop Lucas to be processed in a trial. The CDF may try the case in its own tribunal. It may direct Archbishop Lucas to treat the matter through an administrative penal process.
In cases in which the evidence is overwhelming, the CDF could refer the matter to Pope Benedict XVI for immediate dismissal of a priest.
The Rev. Dvorak was ordained in 1970 by Archbishop Daniel Sheehan. He was appointed pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann in 2007.
Nebraska priest on leave amid abuse allegation
29 April 2012
OMAHA, Neb. — An Omaha priest has been put on administrative leave amid an allegation of sexual abuse when he was at a Norfolk parish in the 1970s, the Archdiocese of Omaha said Sunday.
Deacon Timothy McNeil, chancellor of the archdiocese, said the allegation against Rev. Franklin Dvorak came to light at the end of March. He is accused of sexually abusing a female student from 1970 to 1972, when he was stationed at Sacred Heart Parish. Sacred Heart runs a school, now called Norfolk Catholic, that serves students in kindergarten through 12th grade.
A message left Sunday at the parish office wasn’t immediately returned.
Dvorak has denied the allegation, which was first reported by WOWT-TV.
Dvorak, who was ordained in 1970, was appointed pastor of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Omaha in 2007.
McNeil said Dvorak was removed from the parish the first week of April and was officially placed on leave on Friday, after an internal review board found the claim credible.
The case is being forwarded to Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. Law enforcement has also been notified.
Parishioners at St. Elizabeth Ann and St. James were notified of the allegation in a letter distributed at Sunday services. McNeil said both parishes were notified because they share a grade school.