A Twin Cities Roman Catholic priest who had been on leave for seven months after allegations of past sexual abuse of a minor surfaced was reinstated to public ministry Thursday in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, church officials said.
The allegations against the Rev. Robert J. Fitzpatrick were from the 1980s.
Fitzpatrick was pastor of St. Rose of Lima and Corpus Christi parishes in Roseville when he took a volunteer leave of absence last August, pending an investigation.
Archdiocese spokesman Tom Halden said St. Paul police investigated the allegations. In a prepared statement, interim Archbishop Bernard Hebda said police “completed their investigation and closed their case based on lack of evidence and the statute of limitations.”
The Archdiocesan Ministerial Review Board also did its own investigation and “determined that there was not a reasonable basis to find that the alleged abuse occurred,” the statement said.
“We are currently working with Father Fitzpatrick and staff to determine the best way to reintegrate him into the ministry,” the statement said.
Fitzpatrick has served in Catholic parishes for 42 years. He was ordained in 1973 and served as associate pastor of St. Olaf Catholic Church in Minneapolis from 1973 to 1977; associate pastor at Holy Spirit in St. Paul from 1977 to 1984; pastor at St. John the Evangelist in Little Canada from 1984 to 2005; St. Rose of Lima since 2005, and Corpus Christi since 2012.