A Springfield priest is on an indefinite leave of absence while he undergoes treatment for psychological stress that triggered an incident described as “non-sexual self-bondage”.
Father Thomas Donovan has been granted an extended period of what’s termed “professional help and spiritual renewal” following his abrupt departure from Saint Aloysius Parish last fall.
Bishop Thomas Paprocki issued a statement Saturday to address what he calls “untrue and even defamatory” rumors circulating in the community surrounding that incident. He says Donovan agreed to share private health information with the diocese and the public in order to clarify things.
On November 28th, Donovan called 911 from the church to get help freeing himself from handcuffs. Police say Donovan was alone and fully clothed when they arrived, wearing a bondage mask and orange jumpsuit. No alcohol or drugs were present, nor was any crime reported.
The Bishop’s statement says a clinical therapist determined Donovan is suffering from a condition where self-bondage is used to deal with stress.
Bishop Paprocki says that details of the incident are “understandably disturbing” and says Donovan’s case will be referred to the diocese’s Panel for Professional Responsibility.
The Bishop also plans to ask for the guidance of other parish leaders in determining whether Donovan should be returned to ministry.
CLICK HERE TO READ BISHOP PAPROCKI’S FULL STATEMENT (.doc)