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Longtime priest removed from ministry

A priest with a long history in Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend parishes and schools has been withdrawn from the ministry after a "credible" allegation of sexual abuse of a minor 44 years ago, diocesan officials said Wednesday.

The Rev. James F. Seculoff resigned as the pastor of St. Patrick Catholic Church, Walkerton, where he had served for about six months, said Sean McBride, diocese spokesman.

Before that, Seculoff, a native of Fort Wayne, was pastor at St. John the Baptist Catholic Church, New Haven, for several years, McBride said. Seculoff also served other Fort Wayne area parishes.

Around the time the abuse is alleged to have occurred, Seculoff was elevated from principal at the former Huntington Catholic High School to superintendant of diocesan schools. He held that post until 1978.

McBride said the Rev. Kevin C. Rhoades, diocesan bishop, sent a letter disclosing the allegation and announcing the withdrawal that was read at Masses at St. Patrick last weekend.

In the letter, the bishop expressed "deep sadness" about the situation and said Seculoff had "officially retired."

For more on this story, see Thursday's print edition of The Journal Gazette or visit www.journalgazette.net after 3 a.m. Thursday.

rsalter@jg.net

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