Two priests charged with sexual abuse removed from priesthood


The Catholic Diocese of Cleveland said Friday that two priests who faced credible accusations of sexual abuse of children were removed from the priesthood by the Vatican, the Associated Press reports.

Gary Berthiaume, who was suspended from active ministry in 2002, and J. Brendan McNulty, who was suspended in 2003, had asked to be removed from the clerical state, the diocese said.

Berthiaume transferred to Cleveland after serving six months in a Michigan jail on a sex abuse charge in the 1970s, said diocesan spokesman Bob Polomsky.  More allegations surfaced when he worked in Cleveland.

The allegations against McNulty involved the sexual abuse of boys from a large churchgoing family in the 1970s.

Berthiaume no longer lives in Ohio, while McNulty still lives in the Cleveland area.

"We are deeply sorry of the pain suffered by survivors of abuse due to action of some members of the clergy, as nothing is more important than protecting children," the diocese said in its announcement.

The Diocese of Cleveland, located in the northeast of Ohio, has about 780,000 Catholics.

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