Catholic priest who served in Charleston area accused of sexual misconduct with minor
A Roman Catholic priest who served in the Charleston area has been placed on administrative leave after an allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor in the past.
Father Hayden Vaverek is accused of misconduct while he was pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood more than 15 years ago, according to an announcement from The Diocese of Charleston.
The diocese received the allegation last week and reported it to the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office for investigation, diocesan spokeswoman Maria Aselage said Sunday.
Vaverek was in Rome when the allegation was made, and investigators have not had a chance to interview him, according to The Associated Press.
Vaverek was ordained a priest in 1994, according to his Facebook page.
He was assigned to St. Philip Benizi in Moncks Corner and Our Lady of Peace in Bonneau from Oct. 16, 2000, until Oct. 6, 2004, according to diocesan records.
Vaverek also served at parishes and schools in Greenville, Simpsonville, Anderson, McCormick, Myrtle Beach, Garden City and Hilton Head Island, according to the diocese, which includes the whole state.
Vaverek has been a fund-raiser for the Catholic Near East Welfare Association in New York City since January 2011.
The diocese encourages anyone who believes he or she was mistreated by a priest to report it, according to the announcement.
The diocese has revised its policy of reporting allegations of sexual abuse by priests several times over the years. The policy was revised in 1984 and then updated in 1997 and 2002.
In 2007, the diocese set aside $12 million to settle claims of parishioners who said they were abused by priests in years past.