Virginia priest who headed child protection office is accused of abuse

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The Washington Post

Wednesday, April 18, 3:13 PM

By Michelle Boorstein,

The priest who until last year headed the Arlington Catholic diocese’s office responsible for protecting children from sexual abuse was placed on administrative leave Wednesday while he is investigated for alleged sexual misconduct with a youth.

The Rev. Terry W. Specht, a prominent priest in the diocese that oversees Northern Virginia, denies the allegation of misconduct involving a male minor in the late 1990s. Specht was a parochial vicar at St. Mary of Sorrows Church in Fairfax at the time.

Specht was director from 2004 to 2011 of the Office of Child Protection and Safety, which handles outreach to child abuse victims, training on abuse for church employees and volunteers and monitoring of youth activities “to ensure that all contact with young people is appropriate,” its Web site says.He was chaplain and assistant principal from 2000 to 2004 at the 1,000-student Paul VI Catholic High School, one of four Catholic secondary schools in the diocese.

Specht has been pastor of Holy Spirit Church in Annandale since 2007 .

“The investigation is in its initial phase, and no final determination has yet been made regarding the allegation,” said a statement from the diocese, adding that officials were working with the Fairfax County police. The statement said the diocese has received no other allegations of misconduct against the priest.

“Any allegation of abuse deepens the pain felt by all Catholics, and particularly survivors of abuse. We are committed to full cooperation with law enforcement regarding this allegation, and I have directed an independent investigator to review the actions and decisions made by Father Specht during his tenure as Director of Child Protection,” said Arlington’s bishop, Paul Loverde.

1 Response to Virginia priest who headed child protection office is accused of abuse

  1. A Henneberry says:

    Father Specht was formerly married and a navy commander. He is known for his opposition to the homosexual lifestyle. Only a cretin would believe he sexually molested a male.

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