LANCASTER -- The pastor of Immaculate Conception Parish in Lancaster has been removed from his post by the Worcester Diocese because of a "credible allegation" that he engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor 40 years ago, Bishop Robert J. McManus announced at the parish's Masses this weekend.
The Rev. Edward P. Lettic, who has served as pastor at Immuclate Conception since 1993, was placed on leave after a victim came forward with the allegation, which was investigated by the Diocesan Review Committee.
"It is the first and only report of an allegation of misconduct which we have received involving Father Lettic," McManus told parishioners. "Because of the serious nature of the allegation, and consistent with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, I must relieve Father Lettic of his duties as pastor of the parish and to remove his faculties as a priest."
McManus said he will appoint a temporary administrator this week to oversee the parish until a new pastor is named.
"A canonical process has begun including a report of the allegation to the Congregation for Doctrine of the Faith in Rome," a statement from the Worcester Diocese said. "The result of that canonical process, if found guilty of the allegation, could include removal from the clerical state or a sanction such as a life of prayer and penance."
According to the diocese, Lettic was ordained a priest for the Worcester Diocese in 1973. He has served as an associate pastor at St. Joan of Arc in Worcester, St. Denis in East Douglas and St. Joseph in Auburn, as well as a chaplain at Westboro State Hospital before being named pastor of Immaculate Conception.
Text of announcement the Most Rev. Robert J. McManus, bishop of Worcester, shared at all the Masses this weekend at Immaculate Conception Parish in Lancaster.
"I come before you today with a saddened heart to announce that I have placed Fr. Edward P. Lettic on administrative leave due to a credible allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor which took place forty years ago. Recently the victim came forward to the diocese with this allegation which has been investigated with the oversight of the Diocesan Review Committee. It is the first and only report of an allegation of misconduct which we have received involving Fr. Lettic. Because of the serious nature of the allegation, and consistent with the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, I must relieve Father Lettic of his duties as pastor of the parish and remove his faculties as a priest."
"I truly realize that this news is a shock for you as it has been for me. I ask that you join me in prayer for the parish community, as well as for those who have been hurt in any way by sexual misconduct. I also ask that you keep Fr. Lettic in your prayers."
"The Catholic Church is often referred to as the family of God. As your bishop, I have a serious pastoral responsibility for the spiritual care and wellbeing of this family. That is why I have come to this parish personally to share this very troubling news. A family rejoices together in good times and also grieves together in times of hurt and sadness. My fervent hope and prayer is that, relying on each other's support and on God's grace, we will work together to continue to make Immaculate Conception Parish a strong and vibrant community of faith, hope and love. This week I will appoint a temporary administrator to oversee the pastoral life of the parish until a new pastor is named. After Mass, I will be here to meet with anyone who wishes to gather in the rectory along with Mrs. Frances Nugent, director of the Office of Healing and Prevention. I pray that God's all powerful grace may bring you comfort and healing in the weeks and months ahead."