The Rev. Jacob Oravanam thadthil was removed as pastor for St. Joseph Parish in Winchester and St. Patrick Parish in Mount Sterling on Saturday after confirmation that he had been involved in a consensual sexual relationship with a woman for several years.
Oravanamthadthil vacated the rectory Friday. He is expected to return to his native India later in April.
Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington removed Oravanamthadthil from performing priestly duties and sent him to his religious community for pastoral care and discipline. The disciplinary action became effective Saturday.
Oravanamthadthil is a member of Heralds of the Good News religious order based in Eluru, India. He has served in the Lexington diocese since October 2004. He was associate pastor of Cathedral of Christ the King and Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary parishes in Lexington before he was appointed pastor of St. Joseph and St. Patrick parishes in 2006.
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The diocese received a report of the relationship April 1 and immediately began its investigative process, according to a statement released Sunday by Thomas Shaughnessy, director of communications for the diocese.
Victim's advocate Nelda Jackson, a social worker with Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Lexington, interviewed by phone the woman who had reported her relationship with the priest.
"The conversation led Mrs. Jackson to believe the information was credible," Shaughnessy said.
Gainer met with Oravanam thadthil on Wednesday. The bishop took action immediately, according to the statement.
The woman is "well beyond the legal age of majority" and does not fall under the legal reporting criteria for a "vulnerable adult."
Shaughnessy declined to say whether the woman was a member of one of the Oravanamthadthil's parishes.
"We are declining to give any details about her," Shaughnessy said.
Gainer delivered the news about Oravanamthadthil to parishioners at St. Joseph and St. Patrick during regular Masses on Saturday evening and Sunday, and he stayed to answer questions.
Another priest will fill in for Holy Week, which starts next week with Palm Sunday; penitent services, and other such duties until the priest personnel board for the diocese makes a new appointment, Shaughnessy said.