Father Gillespie accused of sexual abuse, was in the Diocese of Raleigh
Reverend Francis Gillespie spent his career as a Roman Catholic priest in congregations across the country with considerable time in North Carolina.
This week, the Diocese of Charlotte reported that it was accused of sexually abusing a student in a Charlotte parish in the 1990s, The Charlotte Observer reported on Tuesday.
He has not been charged with a felony, according to the Mecklenburg County Jail website. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department told The Observer it would not say if it is under investigation. The allegation was reported to the ministry on September 28.
Until last week, Gillespie served in two parishes in the Diocese of Raleigh, which covers 54 counties in eastern North Carolina. He was assigned to parishes by his New York-based religious order, the Eastern Province of the United States of the Society of Jesus, better known as the Jesuits.
In a statement, the Diocese of Raleigh said it immediately dismissed Gillespie from his posts at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Laurinburg and Snows Mission in Elizabethtown after learning of the allegations and “pending further investigation.” according to the press release.
Here are some details about Gillespie and his time in the Diocese of Raleigh.
Who is Reverend Francis Gillespie?
Gillespie, 79, was born in Philadelphia to Irish immigrant parents, according to his biography from Old St. Joseph Catholic Church in Philadelphia. He is one of six children: three boys and three girls. The three men became priests, one of whom, the Reverend John L. Gillespie, is now semi-retired from the Diocese of Raleigh.
Before that of Francis Gillespie withdrawal by the Eastern Province of the USA from the Society of Jesus, Gillespie had been a priest for 49 years and a member of the Jesuit Order for 57 years.
He holds a master’s degree in divinity from Woodstock Jesuit College and a master’s degree in philosophy from Boston College, according to Old St. Joseph’s. Gillespie obtained a doctorate. in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin, says the biography of Old St. Joseph. His area of research was social demography.
Gillespie lived in various countries in South America for three years and in the Middle East for three months, according to Old St. Joseph’s.
He has taught at the college level at St. Joseph’s University and Georgetown University in the past.
Where has Reverend Gillespie been posted?
From 1994 to 2001, Gillespie was the pastor of Our Lady of the Assumption Church and School in Charlotte, where his accuser said the alleged abuse took place. The diocese said the abuse took place in the church and not in the school.
The priest was assigned to the Diocese of Raleigh in 2002. He served at St. Raphael the Archangel Catholic Church in Raleigh until 2008. This is the same church where his brother, the Reverend John Gillespie, was ordained. by Bishop Gossman in 1995, based on a biography of St. Mary’s Basilica.
His religious order assigned Gillespie to the Dioceses of Charleston, SC, and Savannah, Georgia, from 2008 to early 2021, but he also served in several short-term roles on the East Coast.
They included an assignment as parish vicar at Old St. Joseph Parish in Philadelphia in July 2019; an assignment to the Archdiocese of Baltimore at Loyola University; and a replacement role at the Mother of Mercy Church in Washington, NC, from June to August of this year.
In August, the Jesuit religious order appointed Gillespie as administrator of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Laurinburg, southeast of Rockingham, until a new pastor could be appointed, The Charlotte Observer reported. He also attended Mass at the Lady of the Snows Mission in Elizabethtown, between Fayetteville and Wilmington, on Saturday evening.
What happens next?
In Tuesday’s statement, the Diocese of Charlotte said an independent review of its staff and other records in 2019 “found no evidence of any allegations by anyone against Gillespie,” according to The Charlotte Observer .
Additional questions were directed to the Society of Jesus Eastern Province of the United States, its overseeing religious order. In a statement, the order said it “takes seriously any allegation of misconduct within the ministry.”
Announcements regarding the allegation were made during weekend masses at Notre-Dame de l’Assomption and to school families, diocesan officials said.