The Catholic Diocese of Saginaw has placed one of its priests on administrative leave following an allegation of misconduct involving a minor. Apostolic Administrator Bishop Walter Hurley said Father Dennis Kucharczyk is on leave from priestly ministry while the matter is being investigated. Father Kucharczyk is pastor of St. John XXIII Parish, which includes St. Mary Church in Hemlock, Sacred Heart in Merrill and St. Patrick Church in Ryan.
The administrative leave took effect on May 19. The Diocese said it received information from law enforcement regarding the allegation, which allegedly happened many years ago. Based on the information, the Diocese said it removed Father Kucharczyk from active ministry immediately.
The leave of absence means Kucharczyk cannot have contact with anyone under 21, which prohibits him from going on school properties or taking part in school and parish activities. He must also refrain from wearing clerical garb or exercising public ministry, and is not allowed to present himself as a priest while the allegation is being investigated. Father Kucharczyk was ordained a priest in October 1985, and has had assignments throughout the Saginaw Diocese.
This latest allegation against a Saginaw Diocese priest comes after the April sentencing of Robert Deland, former pastor of St. Agnes Church in Freeland, on criminal sexual conduct and related charges.