SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A Catholic priest in San Diego has been suspended as church officials investigate allegations of sexual misconduct dating back more than two decades, the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego announced today.
The Rev. Justin Langille, 65, was removed from ministry by Bishop Robert W. McElroy following a determination by the Diocesan Independent Review Board that Langille had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a teenage girl in the early 1990s, according to a diocese statement. Langille's case was brought before the Independent Review Board as part of the process of reviewing files pertaining to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the Diocese of San Diego.
That effort was initiated two months ago, when Bishop McElroy asked the board to review allegations against current priests that had been evaluated before the diocese formed the board in 2004.
If the Independent Review Board reviews an allegation and determines that it is not credible, the priest may be returned to ministry. However, if the board advises the bishop that the accusation is credible, and the bishop accepts those findings, under the zero-tolerance policies followed by the diocese the priest will be suspended and his faculties removed. He would no longer be allowed to publicly function as a priest in San Diego or any other Catholic diocese around the world.
The case against Langille was examined in 1995 and again in 2002, but the diocese concluded at the time that the allegation could not be substantiated. In 2002, Langille was given and passed a polygraph test, which was a major factor at the time. When the Review Board took up the case last month, it commissioned a new search for corroborating evidence by a professional investigator. Significant new information emerged that substantially undermined the credibility of Langille in his denials, according to the diocese.
Langille has not had a full-time assignment in the diocese since 2013, but he has assisted on weekends at the St. Therese and Ascension parishes.