Charleston diocese under fire after reappointing accused Catholic priest

South Carolina News

A crucifix is set beside books in a pew at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pa., on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. Soaring chapels at the seminary vibrate with blasts of organs during Mass. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is denouncing the Diocese of Charleston after allowing a priest to resume preaching duties after being accused of sexual exploitation.

Officials say that Father Wilbroad Mwape began preaching again at a Greenville church four months after being placed on temporary leave following a sexual exploitation allegation by a parishioner.

The accusation led to a lawsuit filed on August 4th with complaints of the priest abusing his position beginning at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Orangeburg and his relocation to Greenville.

SNAP says “he may again abuse those seeking help and trusting in their spiritual ‘leader’.” Fr. Mwape was able to resume his position six months after Pope Francis altered Catholic Church law to criminalize the sexual abuse of adults.

SNAP offers support to survivors of sexual abuse by clergypeople and requests for those who may have been harmed by Fr. Mwape to contact law enforcement.

The Diocese of Charleston provided the following statement:

Father Mwape returned to St. Anthony of Padua on Friday, December 10th. Based upon the facts available to him at this time and after meeting with the parish, Bishop Guglielmone made the decision to return Father to ministry at St. Anthony’s. In view of the pending lawsuit, the diocese will not be responding further.

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