Maryland Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors Placed on Administrative Leave
The abuse was alleged to have taken place decades before in another diocese 'prior to his ordination to the priesthood.'
A priest at a Catholic church in Garrett Park, Maryland, has been placed on administrative leave after he was accused of sexually abusing minors before he became a priest.
The Archdiocese of Washington (ADW) informed parishioners at Holy Cross Catholic Church in a Sept. 30 emailed letter that their pastor, Father Robert P. Buchmeier, had been suspended from his duties and is no longer living at the rectory. Father Buchmeier has not been charged criminally in connection with any of the allegations.
In the letter, Father Anthony Lickteig, the ADW’s episcopal vicar for clergy, explained that the Archdiocese of Arlington, Virginia, notified the ADW of the accusations against Father Buchmeier and noted that the abuse was alleged to have taken place decades before in another diocese “prior to his ordination to the priesthood.”
The letter did not specify the number of incidents of abuse cited in the accusation.
WTOP news reported that an email from the principal at Holy Cross Catholic School, which serves children from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, said that the alleged sexual abuse took place in Virginia.
The letter indicated that the accusations were first made to the Diocese of Arlington and advised anyone with more information to contact the Alexandria police.
Alexandria police could not be reached for comment at the time of publication. The Catholic Standard reported that as of Oct. 4, charges had not been filed against the priest.
Father Buchmeier was ordained in 1991 after studies at Blessed John XXIII Seminary in Weston, Massachusetts. Before entering the seminary, he spent 15 years of commissioned service in the U.S. Army as a Medical Service Corps officer.
He was appointed pastor of Holy Cross by Cardinal Donald Wuerl in 2015. Following his ordination, he served as a parochial vicar at St. John the Evangelist Parish in Clinton, Maryland.
He then served at the following Maryland churches: St. Bernardine of Siena Parish, Suitland; Christ the King Parish, Silver Spring; St. Mary Parish, Bryantown; and St. John the Evangelist Parish, Clinton. As a pastor, he has served at St. Nicholas Parish, Laurel, from 1998 to 2005; St. Columba Parish, Oxon Hill, from 2005 to 2011; and Sacred Heart Parish in La Plata from 2011 until his appointment to Holy Cross.
This is a developing story.