Congregation rallies behind accused pastor [USA]

March 29, 2004

Speaking to a supportive congregation yesterday, the Rev. John Schmeer, pastor of St. Martin of Tours Church in New Hope, denied allegations that he had abused a teenage boy in the late 1960s.Schmeer, 69, the pastor at the Bucks County church since 1990, told several hundred parishioners at the 11 a.m. Mass that the allegations have been found to be “without merit” by church investigators, including a review board charged with looking into allegations of sexual abuse.”From the beginning, I denied the allegations because they were false,” he said. “The incidents never took place.”When he added: “Contrary to what has been rumored, there has been no discussion of my resigning, taking a leave of absence or being replaced,” virtually the whole audience stood and applauded.


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