Priest quits as pastor of Golden Valley church over 'prior misconduct'

The Rev. Paul Moudry has resigned as pastor of the Church of St. Margaret Mary in Golden Valley, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis said Tuesday.

Moudry has been on a voluntary leave of absence from ministry since November 2013 while officials investigated a "prior misconduct which occurred many years ago" with adults in non-illegal activities.

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In a statement, the archdiocese said Archbishop John Nienstedt accepted Moudry's offer to resign as pastor of St. Margaret Mary.

Moudry will continue his voluntary leave of absence, the archdiocese added, noting that Moudry has cooperated in the misconduct inquiry and made "appropriate" disclosure to parishioners and trustees.

An attorney for Moudry last fall acknowledged "two anonymous claims of misconduct" in an October 2013 letter to MPR News.

The claims, attorney Paul Floyd said, "were asserted in the context of highly charged political issues where the anonymous claimants believed their assertions would advance their own political agendas." Floyd did not say how he knew the motivations of people who made anonymous claims. Floyd also said, "Indeed, given the context and staleness of one of these claims, the archdiocese apparently found it did not merit investigation."

Jennifer Haselberger, former chancellor for canonical affairs, told MPR News that Moudry's file at the chancery also contained information about a leave of absence the priest took from the St. Paul Seminary in the early 1980s because of sexual behavior and a 1991 evaluation at St. Luke Institute, a facility that specializes in treating clergy with sexual problems.