Bishop Timothy Doherty of the Lafayette, Ind., diocese, addressed a packed gymnasium at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic Church in Fishers, an Indianapolis suburb. He told the crowd allegations against the Rev. Patrick Click had been investigated in 2002 when they first surfaced. A panel of church officials and law enforcement found them without merit.
Church-goers, largely supportive of the man they call Father Pat, applauded numerous times at statements in support of the priest, the Indianapolis Star said Monday.
Doherty said he chose to make public an anonymous letter threatening to reveal the sex abuse allegations if Click wasn't removed from St. Louis as a gesture to show the diocese is handling allegations of sexual abuse differently than in the past.
"We are doing a lot now [to follow tougher procedures] ... much more than what we were doing as a church more than 10 years ago," Doherty said. "If a credible allegation is made about a priest, no matter when it occurred, he cannot be in service. We are in a one-strike and you're out situation."