Priest takes leave of absence after being accused of 'inappropriate contact' with woman

A Maplewood priest told parishioners at the Church of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Sunday that he's taking a leave of absence after an allegation surfaced that he had inappropriate contact with a woman.

During Sunday mass, the Rev. Mark Huberty, pastor of the chuch, characterized the situation as a "serious concern."

"An accusation was recently made against me by a woman who alleges inappropriate touching, which I deny," Huberty said.

Several parishioners appeared surprised by the news. Some were seen crying after Huberty made the announcement.

Huberty said he's cooperating fully with investigations being conducted by police and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. In a statement, the archdiocese said Huberty is not being removed as pastor or being suspended. The statement also said Huberty will not be living at the parish during the investigation.

The archdiocese pastoral code of conduct forbids priests from engaging in inappropriate or sexual contact with others.

An administrator has been appointed to oversee the parish during the investigation.

Huberty began serving as pastor of the Maplewood-based church in 2007.

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