San Diego diocese suspends priest amid sexual misconduct allegation

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SAN DIEGO – A priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego has been suspended for an allegation involving sexual misconduct with a teenage girl in the 1990s.

Fr. Justin Langille “has been removed from ministry and had his faculties revoked by Bishop Robert McElroy following a determination by the Diocese Independent Review Board that he had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a female teen in an incident dating from the early-1990s,” according to a statement from the diocese.

Two months ago, Bp. McElroy asked the board to review allegations against current priests that had been evaluated before the board was formed in 2004. That’s when Langille’s case was brought before the board.

The original allegation against Fr. Langille was examined in 1995 and again in 2002, but the diocese had concluded that the allegation could not be substantiated. In 2002, Fr. Langille passed a lie detector test and the case was closed.

Last month, a new search for corroborating evidence by a professional investigator was commissioned, and “significant new information emerged that substantially undermined the credibility of Fr. Langille in his denials,” according to the statement.

“I felt strongly that even older, previously decided cases involving currently serving priests would benefit from being examined by the Independent Review Board,” said Bp. McElroy. “The voice of the laity needs to be heard on these matters and the independent board, with members that include attorneys, criminal investigators, psychologists and a clergy abuse victim, provides the diocese with exceptionally valuable guidance and expertise.”

Fr. Langille, 65, has not worked full-time in the diocese since 2013 but has helped at St. Therese in Del Cerro and Ascension in Tierrasanta on weekends. An announcement about Fr. Langille will be made in those parishes this weekend. His name will be added to the list of credible accused priests found at http://www.sdcatholic.org.

The allegations against Fr. Langille have been reported to San Diego County Child Welfare Services.

Victims of abuse by clergy are urged to contact the Victim Assistance Office at 858-490-8352.

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