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Accused Priest Takes Leave

Monsignor steps down as head of San Marino church after second misconduct allegation

Feb 16, 2004 | Los Angeles Times

A prominent cleric in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles who has been accused of sexual abuse in a lawsuit was placed on administrative leave after a second person accused him of misconduct, church officials said Sunday.

Msgr. Richard A. Loomis, a former aide to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony, stepped down Friday as pastor of Sts. Felicitas and Perpetua Church in San Marino, two weeks after church leaders had assured the congregation that he would continue as its leader.

In a lawsuit filed late last year, Loomis was accused of sexually abusing a boy between 1969 and 1971, when he taught at a Los Angeles-area high school. He denied the accusation, and the archdiocese's Clergy Misconduct Oversight Board said that no evidence of misconduct had been presented to them.

But last week, the board concluded that Loomis should step down after reviewing more information. Tod Tamberg, a diocese spokesman, said a second person had leveled accusations against Loomis. Tamberg said he did not know the details.

He said parishioners expressed sadness at hearing the announcement, which was given at Masses on Saturday and Sunday.

"They were sad that Msgr. Loomis is no longer their pastor for the time being," Tamberg said. "At the same time, they understand that this is the policy of the archdiocese, and we're going to follow that policy."

The board, Tamberg said, would continue its investigation.

Loomis, the former head of clergy for the archdiocese who oversaw misconduct allegations against priests, was one of 11 priests in the archdiocese to remain in parish ministry despite sexual abuse lawsuits filed late last year.

In the lawsuit against Loomis, a man accused the cleric of sexually abusing him while he was a high school student. Loomis has said he did not recall his accuser and did not molest him.

The Los Angeles Archdiocese comprises Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

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