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Jan 22, 2012 3:04 PM by Andy Koen

Parishoners told of allegations against local priest

A handful of audible gasps could be heard among the congregants at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church Sunday morning as Rev. Rafael Torres-Rico read a statement prepared by Bishop Michael Sheridan which stated that allegations of sexual abuse of a child had been made against Rev. Charles Robert Manning.

The accusations surfaced on January 4, 2012 and were promptly reported to the Colorado Springs Police Department. Torres-Rico added that Manning had been asked to step back from ministry while the claims are investigated.

He reminded the congregation that under both civil and canon law, Manning is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Prior to the start of the mass, parents were told that Catholic Education classes were canceled for the day. They were also reminded of parish policy which requires children under the age of 12 to be accompanied by an adult if they should leave the church proper for any reason including using the restroom, getting a drink or due to an illness. A similar statement was posted Sunday on the parish website.

Doug Flinn, the Executive Assistant to Bishop Sheridan said a news release detailing the ordeal would be issued Sunday afternoon. However, he declined an on camera interview because the investigation is still ongoing.

News 5 conducted an online background search of Manning which revealed no criminal history in Colorado.

St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish was formed in 1998 and reports an average weekend attendance of over 1100 people.

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