"The allegation of an inappropriate relationship between two adults was looked into and denied by both parties," Annette Gonzales Taylor, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Dallas, said in a statement to CNA this week.
"The priest in question was on a leave of absence while the allegation was looked into and assigned to a parish afterward."
The Dallas diocese has not officially disclosed the accused priest's name.
A Fort Worth spokesman told CNA that the Dallas diocese has not officially communicated the results of their investigation to Fort Worth.
Olson said in a Dec. 15, 2019 pastoral letter that he learned about Kirkham's letter to the Dallas priest from Burns, who sent him a redacted copy. The priest's first name, "Paul," and the parish, "St. Francis," remain visible.
Olson says he spoke to the Dallas priest with Burns' permission. He told the Star-Telegram in July 2019 that he knows the Dallas priest, having served as his seminary rector, but says he does not have "a peer relationship with him."
Olson said in his December letter that he asked Kirkham to resign because he had failed to report what he suspected to be the abuse of a vulnerable adult.
"Father Kirkham claimed to have learned about the alleged misconduct that he obscenely detailed in the letter over half a year before writing the letter to the other priest, but he never reported it." Olson said.
Pat Svacina, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Fort Worth, told CNA that the term "vulnerable adult" is not "denoted by definition" in the diocese' policies, but that "as bishop, [Olson] made the judgement that this was a vulnerable adult situation that should have been reported immediately."
According to the Star-Telegram, Kirkham admitted in a Jan. 7 deposition that he recognized the relationship between the priest and a church employee as abuse against a vulnerable person, but also that he never planned to make an official report.
Svacina also said that Bishop Burns had, after "an investigation," concluded that the Dallas priest's alleged affair had not occured.
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Despite this, Svacina said that Bishop Burns had not contacted the Fort Worth diocese directly with the results of the investigation into the Dallas priest accused in the letter.
"Bishop Burns never informed Bishop Olson what the investigation [was]," Svacina told CNA.
"We learned it through news reports, when the Dallas Diocese told news media there that they investigated and found no grounds for [the affair]. We don't know the details...what we know is through the media."
Olson said he asked Kirkham in June 2018 to resign, and Kirkham did, but he later retained an attorney and sought to rescind his resignation, which is permitted under canon law. Olson refused to reverse Kirkham's resignation, and Kirkham appealed the decision to the Vatican.
The Congregation for Clergy upheld his resignation in July, and Kirkham is currently awaiting the results of his final appeal.
Kirkham was at first unable to retrieve his belongings from the rectory where he was living because Olson ordered the locks changed while Kirkham was out of state, the Dallas Morning News reported. A judge in June 2019 allowed Kirkham to reenter the rectory to retrieve his belongings.