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Helias priest put on leave

November 30, 2011 at 4:09 p.m. | Updated November 30, 2011 at 4:09 p.m.

A priest who works at Helias High School has been put on leave while authorities investigate information that was found on his school computer.

Details about the investigation into Father Brendan Doyle were sent out to parents and school staff Wednesday.

Deacon Dan Joyce, spokesman for the Catholic Diocese of Jefferson City, said Doyle reported on Thursday, Nov. 17, a suspected virus on his computer at Helias.

"He sought technical assistance, and in viewing the information on the computer, an individual that works for Helias found what appeared to be inappropriate web images," he said. "Out of an abundance of caution, Father Doyle's computer was forwarded onto a law enforcement agency for further review."

While this matter is being investigated, Joyce said, Doyle is on temporary leave of absence from all diocese activities and work.

"In accordance with diocese policy, the diocese review board has been notified," he said. The paid leave of absence will be for as long as this matter is under review."

Joyce would not say to which law enforcement agency the computer was forwarded. He also would not elaborate as to what the inappropriate material was.

Joyce also said there had been no other incidents involving Doyle.

Parishioners at the church where Doyle has been serving will be hearing more about the investigation at services this weekend, Joyce said.

In a prepared statement, Doyle's lawyer, Brian Francka, said, "Father Doyle is aware of the ongoing investigation that was publicly disclosed by the Diocese and is looking forward to the conclusion of the investigation. Unfortunately, Father Doyle is unable to make any comments regarding this matter until the investigation is concluded."

In a statement by Barbara Dorris of St. Louis, the Outreach Director of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said in a prepared statement, "Jeff City Catholic diocesan officials have a long pattern of secrecy in cases of clergy sexual misdeeds. We doubt they're being fully honest in this one. Let's hope that every person who has any information or suspicions that could shed light on these allegations will find the courage and strength to call police so that the full truth might become clear.


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