Priest accused of sexual abuse permanently suspended

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) — A Catholic diocese in Kentucky has permanently suspended a priest accused of sexual abuse.

Tina Casey with the Catholic Diocese of Owensboro says the Rev. Gerald Baker was permanently suspended from performing priestly duties in August. The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports he had been on temporary suspension since 2016.

A statement says three juveniles accused Baker of sexual abuse. St. Mary of the Woods Catholic Church personnel reported the accusation and law enforcement was notified. Kentucky State Police spokesman Trooper Corey King says investigators subsequently determined there was nothing that rose to the level of a criminal charge.

A statement says the Diocesan Review Board recommended permanent suspension based on its own findings, not on the police investigation. Casey says, "We have zero tolerance."

It's unclear if Baker has a lawyer.

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Information from: Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer, http://www.messenger-inquirer.com