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Saint Luke Institute logo

(RNS) The priest who headed a leading treatment center for clergy suffering from emotional, sexual and addiction problems has resigned in the wake of accusations that he misused funds in his home diocese and that he was engaged in an “inappropriate adult relationship.”

Saint Luke Institute, located just outside Washington, said Monday that Monsignor Edward J. Arsenault had resigned as president and CEO of the center.

Over the past two decades, the institute became well known for treating priests who had sexually abused children. The center deals primarily with priests, nuns and brothers who have a range of other issues, such as depression, anxiety, and addictive behaviors.

Arsenault took over at Saint Luke’s in 2009 after a decade as a senior official in the Diocese of Manchester, which covers the state of New Hampshire.

Arsenault’s sudden departure came as the diocese – which is still responsible for guaranteeing his bona fides as a priest – announced that earlier this year it had received allegations of “a potentially inappropriate adult relationship” involving Arsenault. It said that a further investigation “discovered evidence suggesting improper financial transactions by Msgr. Arsenault involving diocesan funds.”

Because the financial allegations are potentially criminal, the diocese reported them to the state attorney general’s office, which has opened its own investigation.

The diocese said Arsenault has been suspended from public ministry but provided no further details on the allegations.

“I am committed to reviewing our internal diocesan operations to ensure that any issues are identified and corrected, as necessary,” Manchester Bishop Peter A. Libasci said in a statement on Monday. “We will do this in the light of day. In the meantime, we will be cooperating fully with the Attorney General’s investigation.”

The Saint Luke Institute, based in Silver Spring, Md., said in a statement that the investigations do not involve Saint Luke Institute.

It said that the previous head of Saint Luke’s, Monsignor Stephen J. Rossetti, would serve as interim president; Sheila Harron, who has been on staff for 18 years, will be the interim CEO.

“This is very difficult news, and we are keeping this situation in prayer,” Harron said. “Saint Luke Institute has been in the process of expanding education and services nationally. We are committed to continuing to move forward, to providing high quality care for priests and religious, and to supporting a culture of healthy ministry in the Church.”

11 Comments

  1. Bob Schwiderski

    And to think one of the message points used against those that message for the recovery from childhood sexual abuse by clerics is “it’s all about money’ — now we see that message does have a place to land. It’s at the feet of those supposedly tickling the abusive clerics.

  2. Although this is not surprising it is very disturbing news, especially since the St. Luke Institute in Maryland is where many child predators were sent for treatment by church officials when they would get a complaint of abuse.

    We hope that anyone who may have knowledge or may have suffered misdeeds by Msgr Edward J. Arsenault, will contact law enforcement, help to expose the truth, start to heal, and therefore protect others.
    Child sex abuse thrives in secrecy and secret systems that allow it to continue to this day, Children are safest when predators and those who enable and conceal their crimes are held accountable.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com,
    “SNAP (The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests)

    • No one has said anything about child abuse, kids or victims so you seem really, really off base. Some advice for you: be honest and people will listen. Play games like this and you lose credibility.

  3. Bartholomew Drithers

    Maybe Arsenault will be joining ex-Father Gordon MacRae in the New Hampshire State Prison soon? Wouldn’t that be a twist of fate? Arsenault assisted the Diocese in going after MacRae in its prosecution while MacRae has been been trying to prove that he is innocent and has won the support of many credible people including the late Avery Cardinal Dulless and the Innocence Project. It would be very strange to have two priests from the same Diocese in the same prison.

  4. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment

    If its sex with an ADULT woman, or he stole money, he’ll get kicked out.

    If he raped children, Bishop McCormick would make sure that he was protected and given a full paid retirement.

    • You’re a tad behind the times, Neil. McCormack (correct spelling) hasn’t been in the chancery for a number of months. He stepped down when he reached 75. The new bishop is honest and will entertain none of the nonsense that went on in NH back when Arsenault worked at the chancery.

  5. It is my past understanding that the “treatment” center in fact was nothing more than a homosexual spa for priests. The article does not identify the gender of Arsenault’s playmate. My money is on male.

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