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Catholic Diocese suspends retired priest after sexual misconduct allegation

Posted January 24, 2010

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— Rev. Michael F. Burbidge, Bishop of Raleigh, has suspended retired Rev. Kenneth R. Parker after an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor that dates back to 1982.

The Catholic Diocese of Raleigh received the allegation Nov. 13, 2009, Burbidge said.

Parker was informed of the allegation three days later and denied the claim, Burbidge said.

Upon completion of the preliminary investigation, the findings were presented to the Diocesan Review Board on Jan. 15.

After accepting a recommendation from the board, Burbidge said he informed Parker on Tuesday that his public priestly faculties were suspended.

As required by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, the matter is now referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Holy.

Parker was ordained for the Priesthood for the Diocese of Raleigh on May 25, 1965.

Parker’s pastoral assignments have been:

June 10, 1965 - Missionary Apostolate, St. John Neumann, North Wilkesboro
June 5, 1966 - Assistant Pastor, Our Lady of Grace Parish, Greensboro
April 24, 1968 - Assistant Pastor, St. Patrick Parish, Charlotte
May 8, 1968 - Administrator, St. Peter Parish, Charlotte
June 10, 1968 - Pastor, Immaculate Conception, Forest City
Sept. 10, 1970 - Pastor, St. Catherine Parish, Tarboro
May 1, 1974 - Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Whiteville
July 5, 1979 - Pastor, Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, Newton Grove
Jan. 8, 1985 - Pastor, St. Mary Mother of the Church Parish, Garner
July 8, 1986 - Leave of Absence
July 7, 1987 - Associate Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Pinehurst
July 7, 1988 - Pastor, Sacred Heart Parish, Whiteville
Sept. 1, 1993 - Retired

Parker retired in 1993. Since then, he has provided temporary assistance to parishes during the period when pastors are on vacation.


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  • warrior Jan 25, 2010

    One thing that amazes me whenever a story about a Sexual crime with a clergy member happens, from whatever church, someone always comes on and says why don't they talk about the good the church is doing. Well that would be because, this article is about the sexual crime that has happened with this person, not the good the person has done, or the church has done. That is not to say there hasn't been those incidents also, but this article is to bring attention the crime and to discuss the crime. Would you want every time there is a huge donation article or another type of article on the good things done, the opposite, for their to be a list of the crimes done. Doesn't make any sense.
    As for teenager and minor they are still not adults. The dynamics of the spiritual relationship is very complicated and makes it very complicated for a victim to come forward, and doesn't always and actually very rarely have anything to do with repressed memories.

  • wondermom24kids Jan 25, 2010

    to exxe75: "Is there a Catholic priest that hasn't been investigated for misconduct? This is terrible."...yes and less than 1% of all accused priests were acutually found guilty.

    to TarheelsDontLikeEdwards: #1-the fund raiser the diocese has every October is for the Right to Life groups such a Birthchoice, Project Rachel, Pregnancy Suppoort Services. The Bishops Annual Appeal is a way to raise funds for groups like Catholic Charities who help people, all people, get food, clothing, housing, couseling.
    #2-There are more cases of pedophilia outside of the Catholic Church than in it...there are more accusations against Protestant ministers, most of them married, than Catholic priests.

    to Timbo: Fr Parker is retired but he does assist in parishes where the priest is not available.

    And let me point out that Bishop Burbidge, not only suspended the priest but reported it to the authorities.

  • QTC Jan 25, 2010

    NOD2004 wrote: "It's people like you that make it even more difficult for people to report their abuse."

    Wrong, and stop taking sentences out of context. Read the entire post. I'm as opposed to this kind of crime as you are....perhaps more so. Meanwhile, you are doing just what I cautioned against. Your post converts the word "minor" into "children".

    Please come back when you have cultivated the valuable skill of seeing both sides of a situation.

  • LuvLivingInCary Jan 25, 2010

    If you think sexual deviance only exists in the Catholic Church you haven't been on the personal section of craigslist. About a month ago a married deacon at a very large Baptist church was looking for action. A person working with youth was caught at Providence Baptist a couple of years ago.

    It only gets attention when it's a big church. You never hear this about little bitty churches with 50 or so members.

  • NotFromHere Jan 25, 2010

    Funny how you all have comments to make on this story about the misconduct of one person yet none of you have anything good to say about other stories involving the Church - like the story about the congregation in Apex and their work in Haiti.

  • me2you Jan 25, 2010

    "Okay, how old was the "minor"? And why is "Minor" bringing it up now, after nearly 30 years?"

    Oh please. That's why it's called abuse. It can take years to get over it, or even bring it up enough to deal with. Often a part of abuse making the child feel ashamed, or fear retribution.
    So, if someone gets to the point of reporting or facing their abuser, they're just suppose to let it go and let it happen to other children? It's people like you that make it even more difficult for people to report their abuse.

  • cartman Jan 25, 2010

    "Okay, how old was the "minor"? And why is "Minor" bringing it up now, after nearly 30 years?" QTC

    We don't know all the facts, buy many times children brought these accusations up years ago and were told to keep quiet, or the church simply ignored them. Given the history of the priests and how they covered these activities up for many years, I'm on the side of the victim.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 25, 2010

    This isn't new. Priests have a history of this kind of activity.

  • QTC Jan 25, 2010

    Okay, how old was the "minor"? And why is "Minor" bringing it up now, after nearly 30 years? How will either side prove its position after such a long period of time? Oh, wait! I see how this works. You publish a list of the defendant's assignments and dates of service, to encourage a "Me Too" to come forward.

    Nobody advocates looking the other way in the case of mis-conduct with a child. But, we're getting tired of these "repressed memory" cases, many of which are dropped or proven false, and which waste time and money that could be spent for better purposes. (In addition, sexual accusations have put many innocent defendants through a "living Hell".)

    One more thing: If this was a teenager, let's call him a teenager. Most people incorrectly equate "minor" with "child".

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jan 25, 2010

    Wonder how much this will cost the Raleigh Diocese. No wonder the Bishop always has a big fundraiser every spring. The Bishop's fundraiser documentation never mentions how much is spent to pay off the victims of priests.