EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) – The Diocese of Evansville has received an allegation of sexual misconduct against Father Bernie Etienne. The misconduct is alleged to have occurred more than 20 years ago.
Civil authorities and the Diocesan Review Board have been notified.
Father Bernie strongly denies the claim. He is accorded the presumption of innocence during the investigation of the allegation according to an email sent to Eyewitness News from the Diocese of Evansville.
Father Bernie is on administrative leave and is not able to perform public ministry while the investigation proceeds. His administrative leave is in accord with Church norms, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and with diocesan policies. Father Alex Zenthoefer has been appointed temporary administrator of Holy Rosary Parish.
Father Bernie has served in the following parishes:
- St. Joseph, Jasper,
- St. Joseph, Princeton.
- Blessed Sacrament, Oakland City.
- Holy Rosary, Evansville.
- Nativity, Evansville.
- He also served as diocesan chaplain for Southwestern Indiana Teens Encounter Christ, diocesan director of vocations, diocesan vicar general and diocesan administrator.
Victims of sexual misconduct by a person ministering on behalf of the Church or if anyone knows someone who has been a victim of such misconduct should contact civil authorities and the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator at (812) 490-9565 or toll-free at (866) 200-3004.