“A west metro priest is under criminal investigation after he was accused of “inappropriate conduct” with an adult, according to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.
The Rev. Thomas Joseph, parochial administrator of the Church of St. Nicholas in Carver, has been suspended by the archdiocese for the duration of the investigation, Archbishop Bernard Hebda wrote in a Tuesday news release.
Joseph is being investigated by the Carver County Sheriff’s Office following an allegation of criminal sexual misconduct. A woman alleges Joseph had sexual contact with her several times over the span of 2½ years, according to the sheriff’s office.
Hebda cautioned that Joseph’s removal from ministry does not indicate a presumption of guilt, and he urged anyone with additional information about the matter to contact law enforcement officials.
The allegation was brought to the archdiocese’s Office of Ministerial Standards and Safe Environment, which forwarded it to law enforcement officials, the news release said. It did not say when the archdiocese first learned of the allegation, and church officials declined to provide any further information.
Joseph denied the allegation in a statement included in the archdiocese’s news release.”