Long Beach Priest Placed On Leave After Abuse Allegation Surfaces

According to the Press Telegram, the pastor at Our Lady of Refuge Catholic Church in East Long Beach was placed on administrative leave in early September after credible allegations were made that he sexually abused minors decades ago. The priest, Rev. Raymond Morales, is accused of misconduct before he was ordained in 1980. The archdiocese received a report nearly a decade ago that involved misconduct while Morales was still a teenager, but the investigation did not substantiate those allegations. Recently, though, a second report involving actions that occurred while he was still a teen brought forward a new investigation, one with credible results.

While no allegations were ever made against Morales after he was ordained, the church has decided that anyone, clergy or lay, who has any allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor under the age of 18 is not allowed to serve in the ministry.

A biography on the Our Lady of Refuge website of Morales has been taken down, and he has not been reached for comment.

With the sheer number of allegations against those in the Catholic church, moves like this may help heal the rift between many victims and the church, but often it takes real justice to make that happen. If you or someone you love has been abused by a priest, lifelong problems can often follow. Seeking justice through the legal system is be one way to help alleviate some of the suffering.