Evansville Diocese Priest returns to ministry after sexual misconduct allegations

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Published: Nov. 25, 2022 at 8:50 AM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Officials with the Catholic Diocese of Evansville say their investigation has determined that allegations of sexual misconduct against Father Bernie Etienne are unfounded.

They say he’s pastor of Evansville’s Holy Rosary Parish, and he has returned to active ministry.

Officials say the allegations claimed the misconduct happened 20 years ago.

Father Bernie was placed on leave in March.

Officials say they notified civil authorities and began their own investigation.

That included hiring a private investigator, who they say interviewed 22 people and determined the allegation was not credible.

Diocese officials say the investigator’s report was presented to the Review Board, who voted in agreement.

Their release states:

“The Diocese of Evansville takes any allegation of inappropriate sexual conduct seriously. The diocese prioritizes the protection of children and other vulnerable persons, and the provision of healing for victims. If you are a victim of sexual misconduct by a person ministering on behalf of the Church, or if you know of anyone who has been a victim of such misconduct, please contact law enforcement and the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at 812-490-9565 or toll-free at 866-200-3004.”

Diocese officials say they have no further comment.