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Wisconsin priest resigns national post amid allegations of misconduct

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A priest who grew up in Marshfield and who previously served Catholic parishes in Wisconsin resigned his post as administrative chief of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops after “looming media reports alleging possible inappropriate behavior,” said said the organization on Tuesday.

The charges against Bishop Jeffrey D. Burrill shared with the Conference of Catholic Bishops do not include misconduct with minors, President Jose Gomez said in a memo to members, that the National Catholic Reporter posted Tuesday on Twitter. Gomez is also Archbishop of Los Angeles.

The American Bishops elected Burrill as Secretary General on November 16, 2020. Prior to that, he served as Associate Secretary General for over four years. Burrill served at St. Bronislava Church in Plover from 2013 to 2016 and moved to Washington, DC, following his election as general secretary.

From 2001 to 2009, Burrill served parishes in Durand, Lima and Mondovi, in western Wisconsin, according to his biography on the conference website. He also taught and served as chaplain in the Regis d’Eau Claire high schools and colleges from 1999 to 2001.

Her parents had lived in Marshfield since 1967, according to her mother’s September obituary.

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Gomez did not disclose the nature of the misconduct, but said Burrill resigned from his post to prevent the story from being a distraction for the Bishops’ Conference. The Conference takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will take action to address them, Gomez said in the statement.

The resignation comes after The Pillar, an online news source covering the Catholic Church, began asking questions about what it calls “evidence of a pattern of sexual misconduct on Burrill’s part “.

In an investigative report released on Tuesday, The Pillar said it obtained and analyzed data from Burrill’s cell phone for two 26-week periods in 2018-2020 and discovered that it was used to access Grindr, an app from adult dating, “on an almost daily basis”. both at his Conference office and at his employer’s home and at Conference meetings and events in other cities.

In a statement released Tuesday afternoon, the Bishop of La Crosse, William Patrick Callahan, said Burrill “has regularly completed training on a safe environment and background checks”, most recently in 2020, and has gone through committed to cooperate fully with the Conference as it investigates and deals with the situation. Burrill is a priest in the Catholic Diocese of La Crosse.

Neither the Bishops’ Conference nor the Diocese of La Crosse responded to calls for interviews from USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin.

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