A retired Catholic priest in the Grand Rapids Diocese has been permanently removed from the ministry after reports of sexual abuse.

On Friday, the Diocese of Grand Rapids that Fr. Charles Antekeier can no longer publicly present himself as a priest.

The announcement follows an investigation by a diocesan review board into reports of incidents that happened in 1984 and 1985. Fr. Antekeier, at that time, was pastor of St. James parish in Grand Rapids. Throughout his career he had also been assigned to St. Charles in Cheboygan, St. Patrick in Grand Haven, St. Mary in Grand Rapids, Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Belmont, and St. Francis Xavier in Grand Rapids.

According to a diocesan statement, the review board studied the case and gave its recommendations to Bishop David Walkowiak. Those recommendations were then forwarded to Vatican officials who confirmed the decision to remove Fr. Antekeier from ministry.

Bishop Wolkowiak's statement read, in part:

I want to express my deepest apologies to any children, young people and their families who have been abused by members of the clergy in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. While there are no words that can heal such wounds, I humbly ask for forgiveness for the pain and injury you and your families have suffered.

 

The information has also been reported to the authorities.

The diocese says that anyone with information about sexual abuse by a priest, deacon, or church employee should contact the authorities, or the diocesan victim assistance coordinator at 616-243-0491.