Well-known priest accused of sexual misconduct with minor

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By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron
By Alicia Barron By Alicia Barron

PHOENIX – A well-known Catholic priest has been suspended amid charges of sexual misconduct with a minor.

Father John Spaulding, the pastor of St. Timothy Parish in Mesa, has been put on administrative leave.

This move comes after the diocesan review board determined the accusation was credible.

The sexual misconduct claim involves actions that allegedly took place over 25 years ago when Father Spaulding was the pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish in Scottsdale.

Spaulding has denied the allegation and is reportedly fully cooperating with law enforcement. He resigned from his pastor position on Monday. His resignation will take effect July 4.

Parishioners walked out of St. Timothy's in disbelief Friday night.

"Everytime I've been through something difficult in my life he's always been there for me," said one woman named Laura,  "My family will pray for him until he's vindicated."

"Assemblance of truth would mean that the allegation is not frivolous, that it's very possible that this could've happened, that the characters involved - the one who's making the allegation as well as the one who is being accused that you can put these two people, these two parties, in the same place at that particular time," Fr. Chris Frasier, the church lawyer, said.

The case is now being referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.