Maine priest removed from ministry after ‘inflaming’ events around murder

Maine priest removed from ministry after ‘inflaming’ events around murder

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The Catholic Diocese of Portland has removed a Maine priest from ministry who was criticized by a judge who said he “inflamed” events that led to a woman’s murder in 2018.

PORTLAND, Maine — The Catholic Diocese of Portland has removed a Maine priest from ministry who was criticized by a judge who said he “inflamed” events that led to a woman’s murder in 2018.

Father Anthony Cipolle of Bangor was Renee Henneberry Clark’s spiritual advisor and was criticized after her death by Superior Court Justice William Stokes, the Portland Press Herald reported.

“The role of Anthony Cipolle in this tragedy, I don’t think can be overstated,” Stoke said. “He certainly did not help the situation at all, at least from my point of view. Cipolle clearly inserted himself into this whole situation.”

The diocese determined after an investigation that Cipolle abused his position, violated the Diocese of Portland’s Code of Ethics, and attempted to mislead investigators.

Cipolle denied the allegation Sunday and said that the diocese has treated him unfairly.

“The public and Catholic faithful need to know that during the course of investigation I was never told the names of my purported accusers, never shown alleged documentary evidence used against me and never informed of which exact violations of canon or civil law I was being investigated for having allegedly committed,” Cipolle said in an emailed statement. “Everything was terribly nebulous.”

He said he plans to challenge the decision through the church’s court system.

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