Collingswood priest leaves ministry over sex-abuse allegation
COLLINGSWOOD - A Catholic priest here has been removed from ministry due to a past allegation of sexual abuse, the Diocese of Camden has said in a statement.
The Rev. John Bohrer, administrator for St. Teresa of Calcutta Parish in Collingswood and Haddon Township, was accused of sexual misconduct during the mid-1980s, the statement said.
The alleged abuse occurred while Bohrer was assigned to St. Pius X Parish in Cherry Hill, the diocese said.
According to the statement, Bohrer, 74, announced his retirement for health reasons over the weekend in a letter to St. Teresa of Calcutta parishioners.
Bohrer, who marked his 40th year as a priest in 2018, also said he had "asked to be removed from ministry" due to the allegation.
His retirement and removal from ministry took effect Dec. 31, the diocese said.
According to the statement, the allegation came to light as the diocese "prepares to release the names of all credibly accused priests."
All five dioceses in New Jersey are expected to release lists of accused clergy early this year. A specific date for the release has not yet been determined, diocesan spokesman Michael Walsh said Tuesday.
The claim against Bohrer was first reported to church officials in October 2002, the statement said.
The diocese said it alerted law enforcement at that time, "even though the criminal statute of limitations had expired."
Bohrer was initially removed from ministry after the diocese learned of the accusation in 2002, the statement said.
It said an investigation by the diocese and a review by the Vatican determined the claim "did not meet the bar for permanent removal from the priesthood."
"Bohrer returned to ministry in 2009 as a nursing home resident chaplain, and then parochial vicar," the diocese said.
He took the role of administrator at St. Teresa of Calcutta in 2011. The diocese said he served at the parish "without incident."
The diocese said Bohrer's departure was in keeping with its "zero tolerance policy" and the position of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
"As a diocese, we continue to pray for all victims and survivors of sexual abuse and for their healing," the statement said.
The diocese urged any abuse victim to report it to law enforcement authorities.
The diocese also has a toll-free number — 800-964-6588 — "to facilitate reporting." The number "also is available to victims who wish to arrange for professional counseling."
"The diocese remains committed to providing safe environments in our parishes, schools and ministries," the statement said.
Jim Walsh: @jimwalsh_cp; 856-486-2646; firstname.lastname@example.org
Pope Francis vowed the Catholic Church will never cover up clergy sex abuse and demanded priests who have raped and molested children to turn themselves in. USA TODAY
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