Archbishop Burke defrocks three St. Louis priests accused of abuse

.- Archbishop Raymond Burke announced Friday that he has defrocked three priests of his archdiocese, who were accused of sexual abuse years ago.

In a written statement, Archbishop Burke said he began the proceedings for laicization last year against Michael McGrath, Donald "Fr. Duck" Straub and Robert Yim in light of "credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor against them."

The archbishop took the action after careful examination of each allegation and "for the welfare of all children and for the welfare of the church," the archdiocese said in a statement.

The three men have been notified of their dismissal. None of them have been criminally charged, reported the Associated Press.

"Archbishop Burke expresses his deepest regrets to all who have been harmed by these priests and to anyone who has been abused by a member of the clergy," the archdiocesan statement said.

The archbishop also reiterated his concern for the welfare of all children.

McGrath was suspended from the priesthood in 1997, after working as a priest in St. Louis since 1975. One of his 18 accusers included a former Marine, who was found dead in March 2003 in a St. Louis hotel room. McGrath, 59, has been blamed in the alleged suicide.

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