by Max Brantley
A Fayetteville Catholic priest, Rev. Bradley Barber, has been removed from his pastoral role because of an adult man's allegation that Barber sexually assaulted him last week. The congregation learned the news in a letter from Bishop Andrew Taylor, read to the congregation, according to a detailed article in the Morning News. More background:
Barber, 53, is a former Episcopal priest. He and his wife joined the St. Joseph parish in 2007. He moved to Fayetteville from the Corpus Christi, Texas, Diocese. Officials there are being informed of the sexual assault allegations, Malone read from the letter.
In an August 2007 Arkansas Catholicnews article, Barber was critical of the Episcopal church for ordaining women, recognizing same sex relationships and allowing openly gay priests.
"Theologically, I knew I was Catholic," Barber is quoted as saying in the article.
Smith said the accuser is awaiting a decision by Washington County Prosecuting Attorney John Threet, who will determine if any criminal charges will be filed against Barber.
St. Joseph Church plans to hold a special prayer mass at 7 p.m. today. In his homily Saturday afternoon, Malone asked parishioners to pray for both the accuser and Barber.
A Catholic blog also comments.