DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — The bishop of the Des Moines Diocese has place a priest on indefinite administrative leave after finding a decades-old allegation of sexual abuse of a minor was credible.
The diocese says in a news release Monday that Bishop Richard Pate has placed the Rev. Howard Fitzgerald on leave while the matter is forwarded to the Vatican.
While on leave, Fitzgerald can't function publicly as a priest. Pate also has asked him to not wear clerical garb.
During the investigation, Pate had asked Fitzgerald to step aside from his responsibilities at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish in Indianola, Immaculate Conception Parish in St. Marys and at Simpson College.
Pates says he's apologized to the victim.
The diocese didn't release further details about the matter.
Officials say they have notified local law enforcement.