Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monk accused

Greek Catholic Monk accused of abuse
Alleged victim lives in Berks, under Allentown Diocese's purview.

Northampton (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) By Kathy Lauer-Williams, OF THE MORNING CALL

March 21, 2011
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A monk at a working farm on a monastery and retreat in Susquehanna County has been accused of sexual abuse of a minor, the Catholic Diocese of Scranton reported Friday. The alleged victim, who lives in Berks County, reported being abused by Father Angelus Ferrar at Our Lady of Solitude Cloister and Retreat, Warren Center.

Ferrar is a monk with the Melkite Greek Catholic church, an Eastern Catholic church that follows the Byzantine rite and is not affiliated with the Diocese of Scranton. The alleged abuse took place in a part of the state overseen by the Diocese of Scranton, which includes Susquehanna and 10 other counties in northeastern Pennsylvania. Since the victim lives in Berks County, the Catholic Diocese of Allentown also became involved since it oversees Berks, Carbon, Lehigh, Northampton and Schuylkill counties.

Our Lady of Solitude Cloister and Retreat is a 40-acre dairy, goat and poultry farm run by the monks in the Endless Mountain section of northeast Pennsylvania. It is one of six Eastern Catholic monasteries in the United States. The farm and religious services are open to the public, as is a cabin for religious retreat.

The Melkite Greek Catholic Church is under the jurisdiction of the Eparchy of Newton, based in Massachusetts. The Eparchy, similar to a Catholic diocese, includes the entire United States.

Although it is a separate church, the Melkite Greek Catholics are in communion with other Catholic churches including the Roman Catholic Church, of which the Diocese of Scranton and Allentown are part.

Matt Kerr, spokesman for the Diocese of Alllentown said, the diocese' "only involvement" was the victim's family contacted the Diocese Victim Assistance Coordinator and the diocese reported it to civil authorities.

Officials said the allegations of abuse have been reported to the district attorney's offices of Susquehanna County and Berks County; and to the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare.

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