BOSTON, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- A retired priest has been placed on administrative leave over allegations of child sexual abuse in the early 1970s, the Boston archdiocese says.
Church officials said the charges against the Rev. Joseph F. Byrne were only recently reported to the diocese, the Boston Globe reported Tuesday.
Byrne, a retired senior priest, was investigated in 2012 on similar charges that also occurred in the 1970s, the diocese said. Those charges were dismissed as "unsubstantiated," officials said in a statement.
"The decision to place Fr. Byrne on administrative leave represents the archdiocese's commitment to the welfare of all parties and does not represent a determination of Fr. Byrne's guilt or innocence as it pertains to this allegation," the statement said. "The Archdiocese will work to resolve this case as expeditiously as possible and in a manner that is fair to all parties."
The archdiocese said it immediately notified police when it received the latest charges, adding it had began its own investigation.
Until a preliminary investigation of the new allegations is completed, the priest will not be allowed to minister to the public, church officials added.