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Allegations of child sexual abuse lead to restriction of retired 96-year-old Archdiocese of Detroit priest

Posted at 10:13 AM, Jan 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-16 10:13:39-05

(WXYZ) — The Archdiocese of Detroit says a 96-year-old retired priest has been restricted from all public, priestly ministry after allegations of child sexual abuse surfaced against him.

The designation means Father Lawrence Fares cannot wear clerical dress or present himself as a priest and his name has been added to the Archdiocese of Detroit’s online listing of clergy accused of sexual abuse of a minor.

The Archdiocese says they were made aware of the first allegation from the early years of his ministry in July of 2019. It had been reported to law enforcement. The church investigated after receiving authorization or a canonical law investigation by the Attorney General's office that Fall. It was during that investigation that a second allegation was identified.

Once that investigation was completed, the Archdiocesan Review Board deemed the allegations credible. Because of this, the church put the restrictions in place.

However, the Archdiocese stresses the allegations have not been conclusively proven in either a secular or church proceeding, so there remains a presumption of innocence "until and unless an individual is found guilty."