Our Diocesan Bishop, His Grace, Matthias, has announced that he has been placed on administrative Leave of Absence due to clergy misconduct allegations made against him on August 24. The Leave of Absence is required by OCA policy and procedure in the case of such allegations being made against a clergyman. This is standard policy and does not assume or presume the guilt of the accused. Bishop Matthias denied the allegations in his letter to the Diocese of the Midwest which was posted sometime during last night. Diocesan Chancellor, Fr. John Zdinak, has been appointed temporary administrator of the Diocese of the Midwest while our bishop is on Leave of Absence.
Bishop Matthias’ letter was the first official notice that the Diocese as a whole received about the allegations. Diocesan Deans had been informed a few days earlier but seem to have been instructed not to say much about the allegations. Rumors and news of the allegations, however, quickly began circulating on the Internet. Some of those rumors though reported with great authority proved to be false.
At the moment, we all have to await the outcome of the OCA’s investigation into the allegations, trusting that the OCA will follow its own Policies, Standards and Procedures covering clergy sexual misconduct. Those PSPs require that all allegations be taken seriously and fully investigated which it appears the OCA is doing diligently. It does appear that the OCA quickly put its PSPs into action in this case. For the rest of us in the Diocese, better than following the gossip and rumors, we can pray for all involved and for the Diocese as a whole.
Bishop Matthias’ letter which was posted on the Diocesan web page reads as follows:
Dear Clergy and Faithful of the Diocese of the Midwest,
Christ is in our midst!
It is with regret that I inform you that a formal complaint was made against me last Friday, August 24, 2012. The allegations are that I made unwelcome written and spoken comments to a woman that she regarded as an inappropriate crossing of personal boundaries and an abuse of my pastoral authority. I deny these allegations and I plan to respond in due course.
According to the OCA’s policies, I am on paid administrative leave until the investigation is completed. Fr. John Zdinak, the Chancellor of the Diocese, will be the temporary administrator in my absence.
Please pray for all of us who are involved in this matter.
Your Shepherd in Christ,
Bishop of Chicago and the Midwest