Police Investigating Priest Accused Of Child Sex Abuse

By: KKTV Email
By: KKTV Email

Parishioners in Colorado Springs were stunned to learn about a sex allegation against their priest, an accusation reportedly involves a minor.

The accused is a priest at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church, near Research and Powers. Father Robert Manning has been temporarily suspended from his duties as a priest while the investigation is underway.

The diocese says the allegation surfaced earlier this month. Officials say they immediately reported it to police. Church members got the news at mass over the weekend, and many were very surprised to hear about the allegation of sexual abuse of a child.

"If you met Father Manning--you think no way, it's not possible,” parishioner Craig Simonsgaard.

In a statement from the diocese, it says that they're taking the allegation against Manning seriously and will be conducting their own investigation, in addition to the inquiry Springs police are conducting. They reminded churchgoers that Manning is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

"In my mind, it's as possible that he's guilty as it is he's not,” Simonsgaard said. “And he's innocent until he's found guilty."

Police said Monday that they are investigating Manning on allegations of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. They emphasized that the church "has been, and continues to be, extremely cooperative with the CSPD as it relates to this case."

Allegations of sexual abuse by priests have rattled the Catholic Church worldwide in recent years, something that churchgoers are aware of.

"We have higher expectations so when they fall, they fall harder,” Simonsgaard said. “I think the Catholic Church in particular draws a lot of fire because it continues to hold the line on very contentious issues in America."

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  • by Rob Location: Colorado Springs on Jan 29, 2012 at 01:17 PM
    Want to know why people assume guilt of Priests? Ask the Church why they covered up hundreds of sexual child abuse cases over the past decades. If a school caught a teacher doing this and merely moved them to another district would you still support the school the way you do the church? Point your finger at the leaders of the church, not the public. Father Manning may be the victim of this but all Priests should know their employer has allowed a sterotype to be created
  • by Faithful Catholic on Jan 28, 2012 at 08:16 AM
    Innocent until proven guilty is correct, however an accusation like this will destroy someones life. I learned more about the story and who the accuser was. and I stand strong by saying Fr. Manning is innocent. The things people do for money and because there lives are falling apart is sickening.
  • by anonymous Location: Colorado Springs on Jan 24, 2012 at 05:56 PM
    I am saddened to see how many of you are so quick to assume guilt in a man you have never meet without any evidence or investigation into the case. Would you like to be treated the same way if someone accused you of something? The fact you seem to be caught up on is that he is a priest. There are many good and holy men that are priests and have never mistreated anyone. Why would you assume guilt? If he is found to be guilty (which I doubt by the way) then you are welcome to say all the nasty things you want but until then, why not shut your big mouth? By the way, kids are easily influence to say things with leading questions by stupid adults that don't carefully ask the questions or even give them ideas (intentionally or unintentionally). Many children are exposed to very graphic ideas from the TV that their parents allow them to watch. Besides, we don't even know the age of the child so how can you assume anything about this case.
  • by Dan Location: Somewhere on Jan 24, 2012 at 02:19 PM
    Amazing how when it's a priest accused of this sort of thing people say "innocent until proven guilty" but when it's a regular person the same people say to execute him. Christians are such hypocrites!
  • by Anonymous Location: cos on Jan 23, 2012 at 12:41 PM
    Take a look around your own neighborhood... Guess what? Its not JUST the Catholic Priests. Go out to the national sex offenders website and put in your address or zip code. You probably have one living right next door to you.
  • by Jon Location: Colorado Springs on Jan 23, 2012 at 11:54 AM
    As easy as it is for me to walk to the mailbox, it's just as easy for me to fabricate an allegation. Each of us should remind ourselves to let law enforcement do its job, as we do not know the gender nor age of the "minor" who made the allegation (the person could be a 17 year old boy or a 6 year old girl; we don't know the facts and we should sit tight until the facts are determined).
  • by M on Jan 23, 2012 at 08:45 AM
    Im tired of Catholics getting a bad rep because of these sick pervs! I promise not all of us Catholics are bad:(
  • by my.02 on Jan 23, 2012 at 08:15 AM
    The Mass is lacking, the brievery is lacking, their prayer life is lacking..all of this is what causes these problems. When you have a techno mass, that's garbage..Get back to the tradition, and things will get better.Get the priests saying their prayers again, 7 times a day, as it should be..
    • reply
      by RA on Jan 23, 2012 at 03:59 PM in reply to my.02
      Ahhh. The rantings of yet another ignorant person. What a shame that people continue to talk badly about things they truly have no authority on.
  • by Cradle Catholic Location: CS on Jan 23, 2012 at 07:46 AM
    Strange how polite society will immediately condem this man based on the sliver of information available. How about letting the investigation run its course. There should be kudos to the diocese for immediately involving the authorities and notifying the parishoners rather than a quick reassignment for "health" reasons and building a brick wall.
  • by Catholic once, again, not on Jan 23, 2012 at 07:38 AM
    The priest is innocent until proven guilty. Let the law do its job. In the meantime, these accusations don't surprise me in the least. The Catholic Church is deeply burdened with such proven incidents. Obviously, many of the Church's ideas of tradition and morality have proven unnatural and man-made over the centuries. Wake up and use your God-given brains for yourselves, people, instead of blindly following and defending antiquated male-dominated ideas of how we should honor God. Many in the Church obviously have no clue themselves, yet dictate what others must do. Sad.
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