A retired Episcopal priest from Marblehead has been removed from the priesthood after a church investigation into allegations that he abused children in separate incidents 20 years apart, as reported by the Salem News.
Franklin E. Huntress Jr., 77, voluntarily resigned rather than face a church trial conducted by officials of the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, a diocese official said. Bishop Thomas Shaw officially removed Huntress from the priesthood on Feb. 11.
Church members at St. Michael’s in Marblehead and Church of the Holy Name in Swampscott, where Huntress has served in his retirement, were notified of the decision after church services this month.
Huntress declined to comment, referring questions to the diocese.
The investigation into Huntress began after Bishop Shaw’s office received a complaint last October from a person who reported being sexually abused as a child by Huntress in 1974. An investigation by Shaw’s office into that allegation uncovered the fact that Huntress had been arrested on charges of child sexual abuse in England in 1994.
Huntress has served at 12 churches, including four in England, since becoming a priest in 1962.
In Massachusetts, he served at St. Paul’s in Malden from 1962 to ’65, St. Martin’s in New Bedford from 1985 to ’91, All Saints in Dorchester from 1995 to 2002, and Church of the Advent in Boston from 1998 to 2001.
The Salem News reported that he has been “loosely associated” with St. Michael’s in Marblehead and Holy Name in Swampscott in his retirement, occasionally serving at the altar but not on staff.