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The Bishop of Raleigh says a Duplin County priest and his parishioners are in his prayers. Bishop Michael Burbidge asked people not to jump to conclusions while Fr. Edgar Sepulveda faces charges of sexual misconduct. Brunswick County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Sepulveda a week ago. Bishop Burbidge asked to let the entire judicial process play out and pray for everyone involved.

Sepulveda is charged with sexual offense and sexual battery. Deputies say the priest was ministering for a youth group in Brunswick County, but had no place to stay. One of the youth group member’s parents offered their home– that’s where deputies say the incident happened. Duplin County, has an open case also involving a separate allegation about Sepulveda, but Bishop Burbidge says the cases should not reflect on the entire catholic church.

“One act of sexual abuse of a child is horrific and unacceptable,” Burbidge said. “And I understand that it devastates everyone involved. Ninety-nine percent of the priests that the faithful had met throughout their whole life have been true and faithful to everything they have promised.”

The Diocese of Raleigh put Sepulveda on administrative leave when it first heard about the allegations in September. As soon as charges were pressed, it revoked the priest’s faculty. That means he can’t celebrate or lead mass in public.

Bishop Burbidge says he will visit Sepulveda’s parishioners over the weekend to try and answer any questions. Sepulveda denies all of the claims made against him.

Comment on this Story

  • CM

    I have nothing but scorn for Judas Priests like this one who have done as much harm to the church and its people as the Nazis and Communists did in the last century. At the same time, I am very disturbed by the knee-jerk, unfounded attacks on Bishop Burbidge. He has given total disclosure on this issue, made it transparent as possible, posted it on the diocesan website, and removed the priest immediately. Have any of you met the Bishop? Do you have any idea of what he has to deal with in this diocese or all of the accomplishments he has made? Guess not. If you are really concerned about this issue, simply go up to Raleigh and meet with him. He’s very accessible. Finally, I suspect the motives of some of these posters, who probably hated the Church to begin with (real surprising in the Baptist south), regardless of whether the scandal happened or not.

  • watchyoursix

    Ain’t no way I would ever let a Catholic priest stay in my home with my children. Let these priests get hotels.

  • John Shuster

    Bishop Burbidge wants us to think highly of the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church now that yet another sex abuser priest has been found out? How many more are you hiding, Bishop? Give us the list of priests with credible accusations of sex abuse and other crimes that you are hiding in your secret diocesan archives. Because you maintain secrecy and make these gauche efforts at spin, we really can’t trust you or any of your priests. The language of truth is simple. Tell us the truth. Thank God for courageous victims who bring your priests to justice. You bishops act like there’s not going to be a Last Judgment that you teach us about.
    John Shuster

  • Tom

    When are people going to wake up and see that the Bishop’s of the Roman Catholic Church do not really care about sex abuse victims and are involved in a continuing cover up of clergy sex abuse.

    What happened to the Bishop’s Charter for the protection of children and our youth from Priest sexual predators? I thought these Bishop’s, according to the Charter, pledged to report these incidents to the police as soon as they are made aware of the abuse and that they pledged transparency to the people so we are made aware of the potential danger of sexual predators within the church (whether the priests are suspended or otherwise).

    Instead, Burbidge only makes a public statement after an arrest was made, but the sexual abuse was reported to him last September. This leads me to believe that Burbidge would have continued to cover-up, hide the truth from his parishoners, and keep a sex abuser on his payroll, unless the police arrested the priest.

    It should be extremely clear, to anyone with an open mind, that the Bishops and the Roman Catholic Church have not changed since the sex abuse scandals came to light in 2002. They have talked a good game and have put on a great public relations campaign to try and repair their saintly image. But when you come right down to it, the Roman Catholic Church continues to cover-up, and employ clergy sex offenders.

    It is now known that the actions, like the actions (or inactions) by Burbidge in this case, continue to promote the organizational environment that has already caused irreparable damage to thousands of innocent and unsuspecting individuals and their families and friends.

    How anyone, who cares about the safety and welfare of children and youth, can continue to contribute to such a corrupt organization is a mystery to me.

  • Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

    The current charges against Fr. Edgar Sepulveda are not what has tainted the whole church as the former auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, now the new bishop of Raleigh, would have us believe.

    No, Michael, it goes much deeper than that as you must surely know from reading the 2005 Philadelphia Grand Jury Report on the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

    What has tainted the whole church has been the conspiracy, collusion and cover-up, across the board, orchestrated by the Catholic bishops, past and present, to protect rogue priests, known sexual predtors, at the cost of thousands of innocent lives.

    All of us who are part of the church, priests, sisters, brothers, laymen and women, have been shamed by the actions of the bishops who followed neither Canon Law or Civil Law as it has to do with protecting children.

    No amount of apologies are adequate when not one bishop has owned up to what he has done. Not one bishop has resigned because of his criminal acts or mortal sins.

    Yes, mortal sins.

    So when you talk about “priest’s charges should not taint whole church,” Michael Burbidge, you should be more honest about who is doing the tainting.

    Sister Maureen Paul Turlish
    Victims’ Advocate
    New Castle, Delaware

  • david clohessy

    The bishop is dead wrong. The church hierarchy admits that at least 4% of priests are accused of child sex crimes. When prosecutors get to subpoena records, that figure usually jumps to 9% – 10%.

    Let’s hope everyone who saw, suspected or suffered this priest’s crimes will come forward, get help, call police, protect others and start healing.

    David Clohessy, National Director, SNAP-Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, 7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143 (314 566 9790), SNAPnetwork.org

  • Neal Evans

    What’s this 99% of the priests “have been true and faithful”? The percentage of priests who have abused children is closer to 10% nationwide. And why did the “true and faithful” priests and bishops turn their head away and ignore the abuse for so many years, most continuing to do so today. I was required to tell other priests in the confessional each time I was abused. Never was a remedial action even proposed to me by these “true and faithful” priests of the Diocese of Raleigh.

  • Judy Jones

    quoted by Burbidge: “And I understand that it devastates everyone involved”

    Bishop Burbidge, sex abuse devastates the “victims” and their family members, who’s lives are ruined.

    I would also like to see where you get your figures of ninety-nine percent of priests that the faithful had met throughout their whole life have been true and faithful to everything they have promised”? I think that the thousands of kids who were sexually abused by so many priests, would beg to differ with you.

    Bishop Burbidge, where is your compassion for the victims?

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director

  • MGauer

    How can the Bishop say that 99.9% of the priests that the faithful have come in contact with are not abusers. The Bishops and Cardinals and even the Pope no longer carry any credibility. They are all part of a good old boy network that will say and do anything to protect first themselves and second the church. When will we see accountability!

  • snapraleigh

    It is imperative that Bishop Burbidge encourage all victims of Sepulveda, and anyone who might have any information on any of the victims or any of Sepulveda’s crimes to come forward to the authorities. While it is understandable Bishop Burbidge might want to reach out to “all” parishioners, his first priority, should be to the victims, it should be to the victims of Sepulveda and any other potential victims of Sepulveda and victims of anyone else. It is very difficult to come forward and victims view “any” public statements of support as against them, or push them further back into silence. I am not insinuating the idea of prayer for everyone involved is not necessary, I am simply asking for this to be expressed in private, in order to not frighten the other victims.


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