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Man Tells Diocese Panel of Abuse

1980s: Allegations of sexual misconduct by priest sent to Rome

Apr 22, 2003 | AP

A Juneau Diocese lay committee has met with the man who has accused a priest of sexually abusing him in the early 1980s.

Joel Post said he was treated "fairly and with respect" during the two meetings he had last week with the 10-member panel investigating the allegations against the Rev. Michael Nash, former pastor of the Cathedral of the Nativity. Post testified before the committee Wednesday and again Saturday.

The diocese established the committee last summer.

Post said Nash was not present for his testimony. Post declined to discuss details of his statements to the committee.

Nash voluntarily stepped down from his pastoral duties in November when Post sent a statement to the diocese claiming Nash raped him over four years beginning when Post was 11.

Earlier this month the committee issued a statement saying it still is investigating Post's claims and had found credible evidence to back several less serious claims of inappropriate behavior by Nash from other individuals.

The committee forwarded its findings to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith in Rome to determine whether the allegations meet the church's criteria for sexual abuse of a minor. If Nash is guilty according to church law, he will be defrocked, Juneau Bishop Michael Warfel said.

Nash's civil attorney, Louis Menendez, had no comment on Post's testifying. In past interviews, Menendez has said Nash maintains he is innocent, the Juneau Empire reported.

In a statement to the Empire, the Rev. Pat Travers, spokesman for the lay committee, declined comment on Post's testimony.

"For very serious reasons, it is important that this matter remain highly confidential at this time," the statement said. "Bishop Warfel, with the assistance of the Review Board, is continuing to investigate Mr. Post's allegations. ... At this point, I would not be able to speculate about a timetable for this investigation even if I were authorized to do so."

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