Posted: Nov 30, 2016 12:45 PM CT Last Updated: Nov 30, 2016 12:45 PM CT
A Winnipeg priest has been put on administrative leave over allegations of impropriety and the archbishop has turned to the Pope for advice in handling the matter.
There is no word on what exactly the allegations against Rev. Fred Olds involve or when the incidents took place. However, a statement from the archbishop of St. Boniface notes the allegations do not involve minors.
Olds was the pastor at St. Bernadette Parish for 20 years and left in 2015 to become pastor at St. Timothy Parish. Both parishes are part of the Archdiocese of St. Boniface.
In his statement, Archbishop Albert LeGatt said he also removed Olds from membership on the diocese’s Advisory Committee for The Protection of Minors and Vulnerable Adults.
“Please pray for the entire parish of St. Bernadette, for all its members and for all its families.” – Archbishop Albert LeGatt
LeGatt released the statement to parishioners at St. Bernadette earlier this month, saying it was his “painful duty” to inform them about the accusations against their former priest.
“These allegations concern his responsibilities and duties as a shepherd, as a pastor of souls, as a Roman Catholic priest,” the statement says.
LeGatt said when he heard about the allegations, he hired a certified clinical psychologist to speak with people “so as to arrive at the truth as best it can be known.”
A total of 28 people were interviewed and a report was submitted to LeGatt, who then took the actions against Olds. The priest was also advised to seek legal advice.
LeGatt’s statement stresses that the accusations are still being investigated and Olds “is presumed innocent until proven otherwise.”
“We continue the search for the whole truth in the matter of these allegations,” he said.
LeGatt also noted he has turned to the Vatican in Rome to seek advice and direction. But he is also asking parishioners to help by providing two things: information and prayers.
“I ask that if anybody has any information at all that may be relevant or helpful to please contact my office immediately,” he said.
“And finally, I bring forward to all of you my deepest request at this time. Please pray. Please pray for the good of all, for the good of each individual. Please pray for the entire parish of St. Bernadette, for all its members and for all its families.”
St. Bernadette is not new to being in the news. It’s the same parish where an employee embezzled more than $400,000.
Leo McCaughan, who managed finances for the church between 2009 and 2015, admitted last month to the charges.