An Important Message from Your Pastor
My Fellow Parishioners,
This afternoon Belmont Abbey and the Diocese of Charlotte made public the allegations of abuse listed below against two Benedictine clerics that served at Saint Michael Catholic Church in the 1970’s and 80’s. Please take the time to carefully review these public statements. (Diocese of Charlotte Statement below) I want to make sure that all of you are fully informed. Horrible acts of sexual abuse in the Church continue to come to light. We must remain firm in committing ourselves to praying for purification and healing, especially for the victims. I invite all of us to use this Friday as a Day of Prayer and Reparation. Take time to join me in Adoration this Friday at Saint Michael for these intentions. Finally, I encourage anyone who has been abused or has suspicion of any abuse by clerics, parish personnel, or anyone else associated with the Church, to inform the local law enforcement, as well as the Diocese either directly or through me.
Fr. Lucas C. Rossi
—————————-Diocese of Charlotte Statement———————-
Two cases of sexual abuse that effect Saint Michael Parish have come to light recently. Bishop Peter Jugis and Father Lucas Rossi express profound regret or the apparent sexual abuse of a minor that occurred at Saint Michael Parish in Gastonia approximately 40 years ago. The accused priest, Rev. Donald Scales, O.S.B., was working at Saint Michael Parish at a time when the Parish was staffed by the Benedictine order. In addition, another priest, Father Frederick George, who has been accused of abuse served as a Deacon at Saint Michael in 1975. Information about both priests was released publicly last week by the Diocese of Richmond.
Donald Sales entered Belmont Abbey in 1948, from then until 1980 he served in various positions at Belmont Abbey College and in pastoral work at Saint Michael Church, he also had assignments outside North Carolina. In 1980 Father Scales left Saint Michael Church and transferred to Saint Benedict Priory in Richmond, VA.
In 2006 the allegation of sexual abuse by Donald Scales while he was serving at Saint Michael first came to light. The allegation was sent to the Diocese of Charlotte and to the superior of the monastery in Richmond where Father Scales resided. Notice of the allegation was sent to the office of Child Protective Services of the Department of Social Services in Gaston County. After an investigation, the Review Board of the Diocese of Charlotte judged the allegation to be credible. At that time Donald Scales was elderly and infirm and no longer in pastoral ministry. He denied the allegation, he died in 2008.
Frederick George was assigned to Saint Benedict Priory in Richmond, VA from 1975-1987, where he served as Parochial Vicar and Pastor at Saint Benedict Church and taught religion at Benedictine High School. In November 1987, the Diocese of Richmond was contacted by parents who alleged that Frederick George had abused their son at Saint Benedict Parish in the late 1970s. He was removed as pastor and left residence at the monastery. In 1991, he returned to Belmont Abbey. He received certification as a hospital chaplain and served from 1992-94 as chaplain at Mercy Hospital. On the basis of two separate comprehensive psychological evaluations and two letters of suitability for ministry from two different psychologists, he was appointed chaplain at Belmont Abbey College from 1994-97. Frederick George left residence at Belmont Abbey and priestly ministry in July 1998. He was dismissed by the Holy See permanently from the monastic community and priestly ministry in 2004.
The diocese is unaware of any other allegations regarding Father Scales or Father George and urges anyone who may be a victim of abuse to contact the authorities.
Father Lucas Rossi the current pastor of Saint Michael Church said the parish continues their commitment to vigilance of possible sexual abuse through programs like Protecting God’s Children. Father Rossi asks his parishioners to join him in offering continued prayers for all who have been harmed by clerical sexual abuse and for the purification of the entire Church from the evil of sexual abuse.
Director of Communication
Diocese of Charlotte
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May God bless you and your family with His abundant love and mercy.
Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel
St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our defense against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou O Prince of the heavenly hosts, by the Divine Power, thrust into Hell Satan and all the evil spirits who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.