A Baltimore priest who was suspended last year has been reinstated and resumed his ministry at a church in Bolton Hill after the Archdiocese of Baltimore cleared him of allegations he had sexually abused a child decades ago.
A yearlong investigation by the Archdiocese found no evidence that the Rev. Martin H. Demek, 72, the senior pastor of Corpus Christi Catholic Church, engaged in the alleged misconduct, a spokesman for the diocese said Tuesday.
Demek returned Sunday to the pulpit he had occupied since becoming senior pastor at Corpus Christi, a parish of about 180 families, in 2010.
Demek’s faculties to function as a priest were removed and his ministry suspended last April after allegations surfaced that he sexually abused a minor at a church in Carroll County starting in about 1989.
The misconduct was said to have taken place at St. Bartholomew Catholic Church in Manchester, where Demek served as pastor from 1987 to 1996, and to have begun when the alleged victim was 11.
Demek said he was innocent of the charges and no criminal charges have been filed against him.
Demek did not respond to requests for comment. His attorney, Joseph Murtha, declined to comment on Demek’s reinstatement.
According to archdiocese policy, church officials must report allegations of sexual abuse by employees to local law enforcement and conduct an independent investigation, whatever the police probe finds. The policy was adopted in 1994.
The archdiocese contacted the Carroll County Sheriff’s Office after learning of the allegations against Demek in early 2021.
The police probe is complete, the sheriff’s office said, and led to no charges.
Church investigators began their inquiry that April after getting the agency’s go-ahead.
The archdiocese’s child and youth protection office worked with an investigative team including a former FBI agent to “conduct a thorough and comprehensive investigation into all available information, including interviews with nearly 50 individuals,” according to a statement released Tuesday.
“The Archdiocese of Baltimore has determined that Father Demek remains suitable for ministry and the Archdiocese’s Office of Child and Youth Protection has recommended that, in light of the investigation, Father Demek be returned to active ministry,” the statement read.
Demek’s priestly faculties were restored and his suspension removed last week, and he concelebrated the Mass at his old church Sunday. He did not mention the suspension or its resolution during his homily, according to Christian Kendzierski, a spokesman for the archdiocese, but he did thank those who had filled in for him at Corpus Christi over the past year.
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Demek, who was ordained to the priesthood in 1975, served as an associate pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace from 1975 to 1980. He has also served at St. Thomas Aquinas, Shrine of the Little Flower, St. William of York, Our Lady of Sorrows and Our Lady of Perpetual Help at various times in his career.
Archdiocese investigators made their recommendation to the archdiocese’s independent review board, an eight-person panel that looks into abuse allegations and helps shape its child protection policies.
The group, which consists of lay members from a variety of fields, a Catholic pastor and a religious sister, approved Demek’s reinstatement last week.