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Archdiocese places pastor on administrative leave

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BRAINTREE -- The Archdiocese of Boston placed Father James E. Braley, pastor of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish in Plymouth, on administrative leave on Feb. 12, after receiving allegations of sexual abuse of a child that occurred in the early 1980s.

The archdiocese immediately notified law enforcement of the allegation and also initiated a preliminary investigation into the complaint.

"We remain committed to doing everything possible to ensure the safety and well-being of children and young people in our parishes and institutions," stated Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley.

Father Braley will remain on administrative leave pending the outcome of the preliminary investigation.

A statement from the archdiocese said the decision to place Father Braley on administrative leave represents their commitment to the welfare of all parties, not a determination of guilt or innocence.

"The archdiocese will work to resolve this case as expeditiously as possible and in a manner that is fair to all parties," the statement said.

William Sullivan, the lawyer representing Father Braley, called charges "unsupported, inaccurate and untruthful," the Quincy newspaper the Patriot Ledger reported on Feb. 14.

Meanwhile, the archdiocese made arrangements to continue pastoral care at the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish community.

Father William Williams, pastor of St Peter's Parish in Plymouth has been named administrator and will be assisted by Father Jack Schatzel, the pastor emeritus of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha.

Currently, the archdiocese works with law enforcement agencies and community professionals to report and investigate instances of sexual abuse, annually screens approximately 60,000 clergy, employees and volunteers, and runs prevention training programs. In addition, through the Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, the archdiocese continues to reach out to those harmed by clergy sexual abuse in order to provide pastoral help and counseling services to survivors and their families.

Since his installation Cardinal O'Malley has made the creation of safe environments in churches and schools in the archdiocese a priority, and continued policies and programs of support for people impacted by clergy sexual abuse.

"I am very grateful to Bishop John Dooher, who on my behalf visited the parishioners of Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Parish to offer prayers and support. I know the faithful and the clergy of the archdiocese join me in this pledge of prayerful support," Cardinal O'Malley said.

Through its Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach, the archdiocese continues to make counseling and other services available to survivors, their families and parishes impacted by clergy sexual abuse and by allegations of abuse by members of the clergy. Cardinal O'Malley encourages any person in need of pastoral assistance or support to contact the archdiocese's Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach by calling 781-794-2581.

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