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Illinois Priest Accused of Abuse Goes AWOL

he former president of Providence Catholic High School in New Lenox, who is under criminal investigation for allegations he sexually abused a male student in the mid-1990s, has gone AWOL from the Augustinian order to which he belongs, an official with the religious order said.

Sister Mary Ann Hamer, assistant treasurer for the Province of Our Mother of Good Counsel, the Augustinian jurisdiction that operates Providence Catholic, said Friday that the Rev. Richard McGrath was considered “absent without leave” after having moved out of the St. John Stone Friary, an Augustinian friary in Hyde Park, where he had been assigned.

Hamer said she wasn’t sure exactly when McGrath, 72, left the friary, but believed it was within the last couple months and was done on his own accord.

The Rev. Anthony B. Pizzo, prior provincial of the Midwest Augustinians, said in a statement Friday that McGrath was “illegitimately” absent from the Augustinian Province, which means that he is no longer an agent of the Augustinian order. He remains a priest, according to Pizzo’s statement, but lacks the canonical abilities to function as one.

A man who identified himself as a resident of the St. John Stone Friary said Friday that no one there wished to comment on McGrath’s situation.

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