I come to you, as your Pastor, again with a heavy heart. I am seeking to do what I can to foster as much transparency, appropriate response and healing as possible in the St. Austin community. And it is in that spirit, I want to share information related to our parish history.
Fr. Bob Michele, CSP, is a Paulist priest who was in residence here at St. Austin for 20 years, from September 1991 until September 2011, when he moved to a nursing home in Mount Angel, OR. During his time here he worked as a hospital chaplain and spiritual director. He is currently in poor health.
Very recently, I learned that Fr Michele was accused of becoming sexually involved with a teenage girl from 1964 to 1969, while he was stationed in Portland, OR. The reason that I now became aware of this is that a second accusation against Fr Michele, again inappropriate involvement with a teenage girl in Portland, OR, was recently made by a very credible victim.
I know of no accusations or incidents involving Fr. Bob Michele that occurred here in Austin, Texas. But out of concern for any potential victims, I share this with you. I pray that if there are any victims of Fr. Michele’s inappropriate actions in Austin, that they will be motivated to seek help and assistance.
If you have information about any inappropriate contact with Fr. Bob Michele, or about anyone else, or any other area of concern, please contact Ms. Emily Hurlimann at the Diocese of Austin’s Office of Ethics and Integrity in Ministry at 512-949-2447. We publish her number every week in the bulletin. OR you can call Fr. John Behnke, the Vice-President of the Paulist Fathers at 212-757-8072 ext. 229. OR you can call me, Fr. Chuck Kullmann, at 512-477 -9471 ext. 328 or email me at email@example.com.
Let us pray there are no victims of inappropriate or criminal acts by Fr. Bob Michele or by anyone here in Austin. But if there are, let us move quickly to do whatever we can to promote healing and justice. Please keep us all in your prayers.