Bishop says priest’s charges should not taint whole church

Edgar Sepulveda (Source: Brunswick Co. Sheriff's Office)

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.

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“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.