In this June 9, 2019 photo, Father Eduard Perrone conducts a choir during mass at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin March Parish in Detroit. The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday, July 7 that it has removed Perrone from public ministry after receiving what it described as a “credible allegation” that he had abused a child decades ago. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

Prominent U.S. priest removed from pulpit after ‘credible allegation’ of sex abuse

Some parishioners expressed shock when they heard, and one woman walked out of the service to gather herself outside

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit said Sunday that it removed a prominent priest from public ministry after reviewing what it described as a “credible allegation” that he had sexually abused a child decades ago.

The Rev. Eduard Perrone was suspended from ministry Friday, a month after The Associated Press began asking the pastor himself, the archdiocese and law enforcement authorities about a former altar boy’s allegations that Perrone had groped him.

Archdiocese officials told Perrone’s congregation at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Parish during services Sunday that members of the local archdiocese review board found a “semblance of truth” to the accusations, but that they are maintaining a presumption of innocence.

Some parishioners expressed shock when they heard, and one woman walked out of the service to gather herself outside. After Mass, a number of people stopped at the back of the church to ask questions of two archdiocesan officials and pick up a written statement about Perrone.

The pastor is prohibited from representing himself as a priest or wearing clerical attire while the Vatican reviews the allegations, the archdiocese said in the written statement.

The statement also said the archdiocese had reported the allegation to local law enforcement and the Michigan attorney general’s office. The attorney general’s office declined to comment last month, but it has an open investigation into clergy abuse in the Catholic Church in Michigan and charged five men who were priests with 21 counts of sexual misconduct in May.

The Detroit Archdiocese on Sunday added Perrone’s name to its list of dozens of credibly accused priests, many deceased.More than 140 religious orders and Roman Catholic dioceses have released similar lists. Most of those lists were either released or significantly updated since a Pennsylvania grand jury last summer detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse.

READ MORE: Searing testimony heard at Vatican sex abuse summit

Perrone, who co-founded a non-profit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii in 2002 to support priests facing allegations of abuse or other problems, did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday. At the rectory where he lived, a woman who answered the door said there was “no way” to reach Perrone and asked a reporter to pray for the priest.

Last month he denied any wrongdoing when the AP asked him about the allegations that years ago, he would invite altar boys to his mother’s lake house where he would wrestle with them in the water for hours. At times, the wrestling turned to inappropriate grabbing and groping, said a former altar boy who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity to protect his privacy.

Perrone said it was the first he heard of any allegations against him.

“Never inappropriate touching,” he said. “I never ever would have done such a thing.”

He said other adults were always in attendance when they gathered at the lake house and everyone was “fully clothed.”

Perrone also denied allegations from two individuals that he served wine to minors, but then went on to describe offering wine to a child.

“I mean I may have had wine in their presence,” he said, “but I’ve never given them a drink. In fact one time I remember being with one of our altar boys and his dad in the rectory and I said, ‘Do you want him to have a little bit of this glass of wine?’ that we were drinking and it wasn’t the dad, it was the kid that said, ‘No, I don’t want any of that.’ Never drinking wine.”

Three other former altar boys interviewed by AP said they never experienced or even heard of sexual abuse by Perrone, though one said Perrone struck his head with a book for misbehaving and another said that as a child he was afraid the priest would hit him. They also spoke on condition of anonymity to protect their privacy.

For 25 years, Perrone has presided over his church, known locally as Assumption Grotto, an imposing stone edifice encircled by abandoned lots in downtown Detroit. An archconservative who has criticized liberal values and homosexuality within the Catholic church, Perrone offered Mass in Latin, preaching strict sermons to some-600 congregants on Sundays, often scolding them for not being true believers and for being ungrateful and impure.

In a recent parish newsletter, Perrone wrote about the impact of sexual abuse and other misconduct within the church.

“The real shame is not the publicity of horrid, secret sins but the venting of lewd passion, the foul degradation of the flesh, the mortal sins committed,” he wrote. “Where did holiness go?”

ALSO READ: Only 3% of Canadian adults fully vaccinated: B.C. pharmacist

Mike Householder And Martha Mendoza, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

PHOTOS: Hundreds celebrate Year of the Rat in Victoria’s Chinatown

Lion dancers and kung fu demonstrations on display

Camosun student shares story of overcoming struggles to inspire others

Provincial Tuition Waiver Program helps former youths in care attend post-secondary institutions

Officials reaching out to those in contact with Canada’s first coronavirus patient

The illness has sickened at least 1,975 people and killed 56 in China

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Investigation launched after six dead puppies dumped in Richmond hotel parking lot

RAPS reminds people they can always give up puppies they can’t take care of

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

B.C. VIEWS: New coronavirus outbreak an important reminder

Walking the line between cautious and alarmist

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Risk of coronavirus low in B.C. as first case emerges in Toronto: officials

There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in B.C.

Most Read