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updated: 4/15/2013 8:03 AM

Green Bay Diocese: Retired priest accused of abuse

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Associated Press

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- The Catholic Diocese of Green Bay says a retired priest has been accused of abusing an underage person in the 1970s.

The diocese said in a statement Saturday that the priest denies the abuse, which is alleged to have happened at St. Edward Parish in Mackville.

The diocese temporarily removed the priest from public ministry pending a review, which will include an independent investigation. The diocese is pastorally assisting the person who is making the allegation, as well as the priest.

"The Diocese asks for prayers for both of them, and for all affected," the diocese said in a statement.

A group called Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests said the diocese's statement is a good start.

"The diocese now has to make sure parishes where (the priest) has been conducting ministry ... are asked to help the police with any information on the case," the group said.

The Green Bay Press-Gazette reported Sunday ( ) that the Outagamie County Sheriff's Department had no immediate report on the case, but a report could have been filed with a unit that was closed on Saturday.

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee said it will release thousands of pages of documents tied to sexual abuse lawsuits, including depositions with some former top officials.

The documents are scheduled to be posted to the archdiocese's website by July 1. The documents will also include items from priests' personnel files and the files of bishops and other church leaders.

The archdiocese, which had been fighting the documents' release, made its announcement the day before the matter was to be decided in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Milwaukee. The archdiocese filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January 2011 to deal with about 500 sex abuse claims. Lawyers representing the men and women who filed the claims had been seeking the documents' release.

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