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Former Conn. priest accused of sexual misconduct apparently commits suicide
By Stephen Manning, Associated Press, 05/16/02
SILVER SPRING, Md. -- A priest who resigned from his parish in Connecticut amid allegations of sexual misconduct apparently killed himself Thursday at a Catholic psychiatric hospital.
The diocese of Bridgeport, Conn., identified the priest who died at the St. Luke Institute as the Rev. Alfred J. Bietighofer, 64.
Bridgeport Bishop William Lori stripped Bietighofer last month of his priestly powers and ordered him to undergo psychiatric evaluation.
Two men told diocesan officials Bietighofer abused them when they were boys in the late 1970s and early 1980s, church officials said.
A nurse found Bietighofer hanged Thursday afternoon in his room at St. Luke, said Prince George's County police and hospital officials.
"I am profoundly saddened by the tragic death of Father Alfred Bietighofer," Lori said in a statement. "To parishioners and to all those whom Father Bietighofer assisted during the course of his priestly ministry, I extend my sincere sympathy and prayers."
Bietighofer was assistant pastor of St. Andrew Parish in Bridgeport when he resigned April 29.
"The allegations from the two gentlemen were credible enough to warrant immediate action, in line with our policy," Lori said at the time the priest resigned.
Church officials did not report the allegations against Bietighofer to authorities, but said they would cooperate if asked for information.
Bietighofer had served in the Bridgeport diocese since he was ordained in 1965, except for two yearlong stints in Peru in the 1970s and 1980s.
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