Sex crime charges against priest dropped, church investigation resumes
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BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) -- Nearly three years after a priest was accused of sexual battery with a minor, prosecutors have dismissed the charges.

Brunswick County has finished its investigation into Fr. Edgar Sepulveda, but that doesn't mean he's off the hook.

Investigators in Brunswick County charged Sepulveda in early 2010 with second degree sexual offense and sexual battery with a 17-year-old boy. The charges stemmed from an incident in 2009 when the priest from Duplin County was ministering for a youth group in Shallotte, where a member's family gave him a place to say.

Brunswick County District Attorney Jon David said the charges were dismissed last week. The prosecutor handling Sepulveda's case in Brunswick County has not returned our call for more information.

With the criminal investigation over, the Catholic Diocese of Raleigh has resumed its own inquiry.

"That is going to be conducted by a private investigator, who will conduct the investigation, and then report to the diocese and the review board his findings," diocese spokesman Frank Morock said.

The diocese had paused its investigation when the DA's office took over.

Church leaders say Sepulvada will remain on administrative leave until the internal investigation is done.

There have been similar incidents within the Catholic Church over the years and criticism of how the church has handled many of them. With this situation, the diocese says it is following established procedures to protect children.

"He could be returned to ministry, or if the review board finds something wrong, then that would be whatever recommendation is for the bishop," Morock said.

At the time of his arrest, Duplin County also had an open investigation into Sepulveda. We reached out to District Attorney Ernie Lee's office. No word yet on the status of that investigation.

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the charges were likely dropped after the catholic church paid a $$ settlement. Having the catholic church do an investigation on one of their own by their own?--we know where that will go. Shuffle the priest somewhere on the other side of the US to molest some more boys

I am glad the RCC is taking these claims seriously and doing the right thing in protecting the children. It's a shame they weren't that way all along.

Why were the charges dropped? Did the accuser lie about all this? The story doesn't state why. I'd like to know if he was falsely accused in all this. It isn't fair for innocent priests to go through stuff this and then can't get their names cleared of any wrongdoing.

Star News covered it more thoroughly. From their article:

"

'We came to the decision that we did not feel that we have enough evidence, at this point, to prove all the charges beyond a reasonable doubt,' said Brunswick County Assistant District Attorney Meredith Everhardt, who was prosecuting the case. 'Sometimes there is a discrepancy between what we believe happened and what we believe we can prove in court.'

Everhardt said the investigation into the case is ongoing, and if more evidence comes to light, charges could be refiled since there is no statute of limitations on sexual assault.

"

The Catholic Church is going to make sure nothing ever happens to these guys. They spare no expense to find any legal loophole, and enforce a strong "Code Of Silence", among their priests. If necssary, they will threaten, or pay-off, the victim. Like hundreds of other cases, per year, this one was sucessfully snuffed out.

Great job Bishop Burbage, those folks in Philadelphia groomed you real well. How many smoothed-over "Silence Agreements" does it take to make Cardinal ?

And good luck to you, Fr Sepulveda, in your next assignment. Wherever in the world that is. Funny how you just popped-up, from "Columbia", just a few years ago. Not even a slight Google record of your existance, at all, after 15 years as a priest.

Heaven only knows where you'll pop-up again, and name you'll be using then.

But wherever it is, I'm sure, you'll make just as big a splash, as you did in Southeastern NC, and Columbia. Then again, maybe you'll take this as a lesson, and try not to be so sloppy next time.

The Pope may be proud of you guys, but Jesus is not. And Jesus will have the final word on this matter.

Just for your information , Mr TrueCatholic. The name of the country is COLOMBIA. And ... as for the 'next assignment' ... most likely Father Edgar will go back to the same Parish... where people *love* him. You should go to hist first mass when he finally returns ! It will be a historic event !

And next time you dare to condemn someone ... get the facts first ... please ... At this time Jesus is not proud of you ;-)

Gabriel