Accused Priest Working at Miami VA Hospital

Priest once accused of sex abuse is working at Miami VA hospital
BY ALEXANDRA ALTER
aalter@herald.com
A Catholic priest accused of sexual misconduct with a minor in the 1970s began work this week as a chaplain at the Miami Veteran Affairs Medical Center, a hospital spokeswoman said Wednesday.
The Rev. Brian Bjorklund, a Roman Catholic priest since 1966, was removed from ministry by the Archdiocese of Detroit in 2003. The church placed Bjorklund on administrative leave as it investigated an allegation that he committed sexual misconduct with a minor during his early years in the clergy. Bjorklund was working as a Navy chaplain in California at the time of his suspension.
In February 2004, the Vatican restored Bjorklund to the priesthood, stating that the alleged victim was not considered to be a minor under church law in the 1970s.
David Clohessy, national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), said his group will contact the VA hospital and Miami Archbishop John Favalora to seek Bjorklund’s removal from ministry.
”We’re very troubled,” he said. “It’s shocking to have an accused molester who has been rejected by his home diocese wind up with the VA in Miami.”
Susan Ward, a spokeswoman for the VA hospital, confirmed that Bjorklund began work Tuesday. She said the hospital conducted a criminal background check and nothing came up. She noted that the hospital treats only veterans, not juveniles.
Mary Ross Agosta, a spokeswoman for the Miami archdiocese, said Bjorklund does not have priestly faculties under the archdiocese of Miami and must undergo a background check before he is granted those powers.