Priest who denied communion to lesbian placed on leave

GAITHERSBURG — A priest who denied communion to a lesbian at her mother's funeral has been placed on leave.

A letter from an Archdiocese of Washington official says the priest was placed on leave for engaging in intimidating behavior.

The archdiocese has already apologized for the priest's actions at the February funeral in Gaithersburg.

Barbara Johnson and her relatives, meanwhile, have asked the archdiocese to remove the priest. The archdiocese issued a statement after the funeral saying the Rev. Marcel Guarnizo's actions violated policy but any action against him would remain confidential because it is a personnel issue.

Johnson's family issued a statement Sunday saying the letter doesn't pertain to the funeral, but they hope the action will ensure others won't suffer the same treatment.

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