A dear friend of mine (layman) was removed from his professional position in a parish on accusations of sexual misconduct. He admitted he kissed a 17 year old girl while he was in the middle of a divorce. He admits it was a terrible mistake and wishes every single day he could have it back…but he can’t. What crushes me is that he is insanely talented and was well on his way to doing amazing things for the Church. The police refused to press charges, because what he did wasn’t illegal (at least not in this state), but the Archdiocese terminated him for “sexual misconduct with a minor”.
I’ve tried to encourage him try to contact the archdiocese and ask them to change the termination reasons, since there wasn’t any sexual contact. I just want him to get back to doing the work I know he’s called to do. He wants desperately to go back to the work he was doing, but is terrified that the one mistake he made would come out, then would become public, then cause scandal, then hurt more people than already have been hurt…so he’s basically written everything off, changed careers to doing something he’s miserable doing, and lives every day regretting what he did.
What can I do? What can he do? He didn’t do anything illegal…he made one mistake and he’s now been ruined. His faith is strong, but it’s certainly being tremendously tested.