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Misconduct allegations surface against Missoula priest

Posted at 6:32 PM, Oct 15, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 14:13:30-04

MISSOULA — Allegations against a Jesuit priest at St. Francis Xavier church in Missoula have surfaced and have led to that priest being relocated to California.

Jesuit West spokesperson Tracey Primrose confirmed that St. Francis priest Rich Perry is currently being investigated for acts of misconduct against adult female member.

Primrose says that when an allegation surfaces against a Jesuit, the Jesuit is automatically removed from ministry while an investigation takes place. The Jesuit is not informed of the details of the allegation, or the identity of the accuser until the investigation is completed.

Currently, Perry is located in Los Gatos, California at what officials describe as a province health care retirement community where about 80 other Jesuit priests are currently staying.

An outside firm or private investigator will conduct the investigation. Once it’s completed, they will take the results to a province review board who will make its recommendation.

In a statement issued to the congregation by Father Stephen Lantry, the church says that the decision to investigate Perry was, “made in light of serious allegations against Father Perry concerning some of his relationships with adult women.”

“I want to stress that none of these allegations is related to minors. We pray for healing in our community, we pray for Father Perry, but most of all, we pray for any person who has been hurt because of his action," he added.

The statement also says the protection and care of every parish member is, and continues to be, first and foremost for all of those who minister at St. Francis Xavier.

MTN News has attempted to contact someone from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena and Father Rich Perry, but they were unavailable for comment.

Father Perry has been removed from St. Francis’s website.

Editors Note: In earlier report, we identified the female member as "clergy."