(CINCINNATI) -- The Archdiocese of Cincinnati has place a retired priest on administrative leave, as a result of a report that he sexually abused a minor.
The leave, against Robert Stricker, was announced Wednesday by Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, and is the strongest step a diocesan bishop can take on his own. The Diocese says it does not represent a a presumption of guilt on the part of the Archdiocese.
In accord with church law, it is a response to an allegation that is deemed to have "the semblance of truth" while further steps are taken, according to a press release by the Archdiocese. A priest on administrative leave may not celebrate the sacraments, engage in priestly ministry, or present himself as a priest in any way.
According to the release, a man reported to the Archdiocese in 1993 that Robert Stricker had abused him in the 1950s when Stricker was an associate pastor at St. William Parish in Price Hill. Stricker denied the allegation. The Archdiocese investigated and concluded the accusation was unsubstantiated. The same man came forward again a few weeks ago. New information was presented and further investigation was undertaken. After reviewing the accusation and the facts of the investigation, Archbishop Pilarczyk concluded that the accusation had the semblance of truth and therefore placed Stricker on administrative leave.
The accusation was reported to secular legal authorities. The Archdiocese has received no other accusations of sexual misconduct against Stricker.
Robert A. Stricker, 84, was ordained to the priesthood in 1948 and received a doctorate degree in sacred theology from the Angelicum in Rome in 1950. After returning to the United States, he became associate pastor at St. William Parish and a teacher at Elder High School in Cincinnati. In 1955 he left those positions to study library science at the Catholic University of America in Washington. D.C.
He was appointed librarian of the Athenaeum of Ohio in 1956, archivist of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati in 1964, a judge of the Archdiocesan Tribunal in 1969, co-pastor of St. James the Greater Parish in White Oak in 1974, pastor of St. Boniface Parish in Cincinnati in 1977, and associate pastor of St. Boniface in 1992. He retired in 1993.
He becomes the eighth priest now on administrative leave as a result of child abuse accusations. Another seven priests formerly on leave were permanently removed from the clerical state by Vatican action. Two more were permanently removed from priestly ministry, but remain under the authority of the archbishop and retain certain priestly obligations.