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San Francisco Archdiocese Removes Priest From Service Over Allegations Of Past Sex Abuse

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Archdiocese of Agana

Father John Wadeson is identified as the second figure from the right in this 2013 photo posted to the website Umatuna.org. (Umatuna.org File Photo)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS/AP) — The San Francisco Archdiocese has removed a priest from ministering in the city after he was removed from his post in Guam over allegations that he molested two boys four decades ago while serving in the archdiocese of Los Angeles, church officials said Friday.

The Rev. John Howard Wadeson was stripped of his duties in the Archdiocese of Agana on Monday after concerns in the community there about his past and he has since left the U.S. territory, the Guam Pacific Daily News reported. Wadeson, whose current whereabouts are unknown, told the paper he was innocent and was leaving to protect his archbishop.

A 2004 report on clergy abuse issued by the Los Angeles archdiocese lists Wadeson as being credibly accused of molesting two people between 1973 and 1977, while he was working as a priest with the Divine Word Missionaries religious order. Wadeson was in the Los Angeles archdiocese between 1972 and 1985 and spent many of those years at Verbum Dei High School, an all-boys Catholic school.

Wadeson’s religious order would have been responsible for dealing with the allegations at the time, said Monica Valencia, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles archdiocese.

In 2011, Wadeson asked the Los Angeles archdiocese for authorization to minister once more in Los Angeles because he was traveling in California.

The archdiocese refused and contacted archdiocese officials in Guam after learning he was working there, said archdiocese attorney Michael Hennigan. He said he did not know what was done with the information.

Wadeson made a similar request in San Francisco, which was granted. That archdiocese revoked Wadeson’s faculties this week, San Francisco church officials said in a statement Friday.

Father Wadeson has spent months every year as a visiting priest in San Francisco and, according to San Francisco Archdiocese spokeswoman Dr. Christine Mugrich, he came to the city with a letter of good standing.

Wadeson has not been named in any civil lawsuits.

Archdiocese of Agana officials did not respond Friday to phone messages or emails in Guam, where it was already Saturday.


TM and © Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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