"The matter has been reported to authorities and is being investigated," he said. The investigations will look into Townsend's behavior, as well as the response of Bishop Conley and his staff.
Conley said that he cannot comment further while the civil and Church investigations are underway, but will offer an update when they have concluded.
The bishop also discussed three other diocesan priests. He said that he is concerned by the behavior of Fr. Patrick Barvick, whom he had previously instructed not to be alone with women. He has asked the priest to step aside from the parish temporarily while he evaluates the situation.
Fr. Steve Thomlison has submitted his resignation as pastor of St. Stephen in Exeter and St. Wenceslaus in Milligan, Conley continued. The resignation came during a meeting "to discuss a past incident in the military that was a concern."
Conley clarified that the incident did not involve an offense against a minor or a parishioner, and that Thomlison received an honorable discharge from the military.
"I am committed to getting Father the care he needs. Please join me in praying for Father Thomlison," the bishop said.
He also addressed the case of now-retired priest Fr. James Benton, who was accused in 2002 of touching a minor inappropriately during a camping trip that had taken place during the early 1980s.
"That matter was fully investigated by the Lincoln Diocese. The allegations could not be substantiated," Conley said.
In the fall of last year, Fr. Benton resigned his pastorate after being accused of sexually abusing two family members more than 25 years prior, he said.
Conley said the allegations were handled by the Diocesan Review Board and referred to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which returned the matter to the bishop to take action.
He said he prohibited Benton from exercising public ministry in the diocese and restricted him from being alone with minors. The priest is now retired.
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Bishop Conley reiterated his commitment to transparency and encouraged anyone who has experienced abuse by a member of the diocese to file a report with law enforcement authorities.
"I want to repeat to you that I am sorry for the manner in which I have responded to allegations of improper behavior brought against Lincoln priests," he said. "I hope you forgive me."
J.D. Flynn, editor-in-chief of Catholic News Agency, previously served as special assistant to Bishop Conley and director of communications for the Lincoln diocese. Flynn has recused himself from coverage of this story to avoid a conflict-of-interest. He was not involved in the assigning, reporting, editing or oversight of this story.