TULSA, Okla. (AP) – A Tulsa Roman Catholic priest is being allowed to return to work after officials with the Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma say an internal investigation failed to substantiate allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
The diocese on Tuesday announced that the Rev. Joe Townsend is no longer on administrative leave and could be considered for a pastoral assignment next year.
Townsend was suspended in July after a sexual misconduct allegation involving a minor. The allegation stemmed from when Townsend was an associate pastor at St. Pius X Catholic Church from 1988 to 1991.
Townsend denied wrongdoing, and no criminal charges were ever filed.
The diocese says a thorough and “victim-centered” investigation by Bishop David Konderla found the allegation to be unsubstantiated.