Priest placed on leave due to allegations of "violations with minors"
JEFFERSON CITY - A priest at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Jefferson City has been removed after accusations that he violated boundaries with a minor, according to the church.
"I am saddened to inform you that we have received allegations of "boundary violations" with minors regarding Father Geoffrey Brooke," Bishop Shawn McKnight said in a statement.
Brooke is not allowed to "function publicly as a priest," while on administrative leave during the investigation, McKnight said.
The bishop said it's important to keep in mind the act of investigation is not a suggestion of guilt.
"I ask you to join with me in prayers for all involved in this situation: the children, their families, Father Brooke, the school and all the parish communities affected," McKnight said.
The church has made therapeutic services available to the families and Brooke.
Father Joshua Duncan was appointed part-time associate pastor for the Immaculate Conception Parish effective Monday.
Brooke was an alumni with the Newman Center on the University of Missouri Campus.
The diocese sent a letter to parishioners informing them of the suspension eight days ago. However, the information was not made public until the letter was shared with media outlets.
Survivors of priest abuse are now questioning the diocese's lack of transparency.
Don Asbee is a mid-Missouri leader of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. He says the diocese is moving backwards when it comes to being transparent.
"I just feel this is inappropraite this is not full disclosure," said Asbee. "It is not transparency."
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests will hold a press conference about the recent allegations at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Columbia at 11 a.m.