Lincoln Diocese places priest on leave amid sexual misconduct investigation

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LINCOLN, Neb. -- Father Thomas Dunavan, chief administrative officer of Falls City Sacred Heart Catholic School and pastor of Saints Peter and Paul Church in Falls City, has been placed on administrative leave by Bishop James Conley due to allegations of sexual misconduct dating back approximately 20 years.

These allegations do not involve any recent conduct or recent allegations. However, after consultation with the four-member independent lay task force currently reviewing past allegations of sexual misconduct within the diocese, Bishop Conley determined that these allegations warrant further investigation. The diocese has retained the services of an independent, private investigator to investigate the matter.

Consistent with the diocese’s current policy and practice, Father Dunavan will remain on administrative leave pending a full investigation by the diocese. Information related to the allegations has been provided to law enforcement in connection with the Nebraska Attorney General’s investigation.

No conclusions have been reached by the diocese about these allegations. The diocese will provide more information after the investigation has been completed. In the meantime, we ask that you pray for all of the people involved.

Father Kenneth Hoesing has been appointed administrator of Saints Peter and Paul Parish in Falls City. Mr. Douglas Goltz has been named the interim chief administrative officer of Falls City Sacred Heart Catholic School.

To report an allegation of sexual abuse by any person in any way affiliated with the Diocese of Lincoln, we encourage you to contact your local law enforcement agency or the Nebraska Child Abuse Hotline: (800) 652-1999.

In addition, you may report an allegation of sexual abuse to the Diocese of Lincoln’s Safe Environment Office at (402) 314-2899 or through the diocese’s misconduct hotline: (844) 527-0596.