Advertisement

Diocese of Charlotte reports allegation of child sexual abuse made against former priest to CMPD

The Diocese of Charlotte reported the allegation to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and to Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services on Sept. 28.
the Diocese of Charlotte acknowledged that an allegation of child sexual abuse has been...
the Diocese of Charlotte acknowledged that an allegation of child sexual abuse has been reported against a Jesuit priest, Father Francis P. Gillespie, who served at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in the 1990s.(Loyola's Jesuit Community)
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 6:24 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Diocese of Charlotte has reported to police that an allegation of child sexual abuse was made against a priest who served at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish more than 20 years ago.

In an article in the Catholic News Herald, the Diocese of Charlotte acknowledged that an allegation of child sexual abuse has been reported against a Jesuit priest, Father Francis P. Gillespie, who served at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish in the 1990s.

Officials say Father Gillespie was pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Church and School from 1994 to 2001, and the abuse is alleged to have happened at the church in the mid-to-late 1990s, when the claimant was a student at the school.

The allegation was recently reported to the Diocese of Charlotte and to Father Gillespie’s supervising religious order, the New York-based USA East Province of the Society of Jesus, which removed Father Gillespie from ministry on Sept. 29 while the allegation is investigated.

The Diocese of Charlotte reported the allegation to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police and to Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services on Sept. 28.

Officials say announcements were made during weekend Masses at Our Lady of the Assumption Church Oct. 2-3, as well as to school families.

According to the Catholic News Herald, the diocese told parishioners it would cooperate fully with any investigation, and said in a statement: “The Charlotte diocese has zero tolerance for child sexual abuse, and anyone who has been the victim of abuse is encouraged to seek help and report to law enforcement authorities.”

“An independent review of the diocese’s personnel and other files in 2019 found no record of abuse allegations from anyone against Gillespie,” the statement also said.

The article states that Father Gillespie, now 79, has not served at any other parishes in the Charlotte diocese.

“In 2002, the Jesuits assigned him to work in the Diocese of Raleigh, where he served until 2008, then moved him to the Diocese of Charleston, S.C. Father Gillespie was returned to ministry in the Diocese of Raleigh in January 2021, and since August has been serving as administrator of a parish in Laurinburg,” the article reads.

Copyright 2021 WBTV. All rights reserved.