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Diocese removes ‘accused’ priest

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The Diocese of Gallup removed the Rev. Timothy Conlon from ministry at two Arizona parishes this week after his religious order learned that the priest had been “credibly accused” decades ago of sexual abuse with two children.

Bishop James Wall notified law enforcement in Arizona and removed Conlon as parish administrator at St. John the Baptist Parish in St. Johns, and San Raphael Parish in Concho, the diocese said Wednesday in a written statement.

Suzanne Hammons, spokeswoman for the diocese, said church officials are not aware of any allegations of sexual abuse against Conlon in the diocese.

Conlon, 64, could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Messages left with the diocese and a parish office in St. Johns were not returned.

As parish administrator, Conlon performed Mass and other duties at the two parishes for about two years, Hammons said. He was in the process of “incardination,” which would have allowed him to officially serve as pastor, she said.

Conlon’s order, the Crosier Province of Phoenix, notified the diocese immediately after learning about the abuse allegations, according to a statement issued by the order.

“The alleged abuse took place approximately 40 years ago in North Dakota before Fr. Conlon was ordained a priest, but has just been reported to the church authorities and the Crosiers,” the statement said. The order was not aware of other allegations against Conlon, it said.

In April 2010, Conlon was stabbed in the arm and back as he tried to defend a woman from an attack by a homeless man at Sacred Heart Parish in Phoenix, the Arizona Republic reported. Conlon was treated at an area hospital and released.

Conlon joined the Crosiers in 1979 when he was ordained a priest, Today’s Catholic, a news website, reported at the time of the attack. He served in college, hospital, retreat and parish ministries in Nebraska, New York and Arizona.

The diocese asked anyone aware of sexual misconduct by an employee or religious member to call Diane DiPaolo, the diocese victim assistance coordinator, at 505-906-7357.

Anyone aware of sexual misconduct by a Crosier can call the order at 602-443-7100.

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