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President of St. Luke's suspended after charges of sexual, financial impropriety

Catholic World News - May 07, 2013

The priest who has been serving as president of the most influential treatment center for troubled clerics has resigned, and has been suspended from public ministry, following charges of sexual and financial improprieties.

Msgr. Edward Arsenault, a priest of the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire, had been president of the St. Luke Institute in Maryland since 2009. He stepped down after the Manchester diocese announced that it had received reports of “a potentially inappropriate adult relationship” as well as “evidence suggesting improper financial transactions” involving Msgr. Arsenault.

The financial charges—which date from the time of the priest’s service in New Hampshire, and do not involve the St. Luke Institute—could be considered criminal matters, and the diocese has turned over the evidence to New Hampshire prosecutors.

Manchester’s Bishop Peter Libasci promised to cooperate with the legal inquiry, and to review Msgr. Arsenault’s case “in the light of day.” Before his appointment to St. Luke's, Msgr. Arsenault had handled sex-abuse complaints for Bishop Libasci's predecessor, Bishop John McCormack.

“This is very difficult news,” acknowledged Sheila Harron, the interim chief executive of St. Luke’s. Msgr. Stephen Rossetti, a former president of the Institute, will step in temporarily to fill the vacancy created by Msgr. Arsenault’s departure.

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