SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – The San Diego Catholic diocese on Tuesday announced it had removed Father Justin Langille from ministry and had his faculties revoked by Bishop Robert McElroy following a determination by the Diocesan Independent Review Board that Langille had been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a female teen in an incident dating from the early-1990's.
The case had been closed years ago after the priest had passed a lie detector test, but was reopened as part of ongoing review of files.
According to the diocese, Father Langille case was brought before the an independent review board as part of reviewing filed pertaining to the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the San Diego Catholic Diocese.
"I felt strongly that even older, previously decided cases involving currently serving priests would benefit from being examined by the Independent Review Board," said Bishop McElroy. "The voice of the laity needs to be heard on these matters and the independent board, with members that include attorneys, criminal investigators, psychologists and a clergy abuse victim, provides the diocese with exceptionally valuable guidance and expertise."
The diocese said Langille would return to ministry if reviews of the allegation are determined to not be credible. He would be suspended if the board advises Bishop McElroy the accusation is credible and the bishop accepts the findings.
If the allegation is determined to be credible, Langille would no longer be allowed to publicly function as a priest in San Diego or any other Catholic diocese around the world.
The original case was examined in 1995 and again in 2002, but the diocese concluded at the time that the allegation could not be substantiated. In 2002, Langille was given and passed a polygraph test, which was a major determining factor at the time.
According to the diocese, significant new information emerged that substantially undermined the credibility of Langille in his denials after the view board took up the case last month; therefore, commissioning a new search for corroborating evidence by a professional investigator.
Bishop McElroy said the review board concluded that Langille had violated the stands of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. For that reason, Bishop McElroy had “removed Father Langille from public ministry.”
Father Langille, 65, has not had a full-time assignment in the diocese since 2013, but he has assisted on weekends at St. Therese and Ascension parishes.
An announcement about Father Langille will be made in both parishes this weekend. Further, his name will be added to the list of credibly accused priests maintained by the diocese.
The diocese urged any victim of abuse by clergy to contact the Victim Assistance Office at 858-490-8353 to report such abuse and for support in healing.