Priest on Personal Leave After Incident in Rectory
A Catholic priest in the capital city is on personal leave after an incident at a church rectory. The Diocese of Springfield confirmed pastor Thomas Donovan of St. Aloysious Church requested time away to address "personal issues."
The diocese doesn't know how long Donovan will take leave. The bishop granted the leave.
Police confirm no crime happened. Here's what did.
Records obtained through the Freedom of Information Act show Springfield police responded to a 911 call from the rectory at St. Aloysius during the early morning hours of November 28. Donovan made the call. He told officers he had put himself in handcuffs and couldn't get them off. Police helped him, and conducted what Deputy Chief Cliff Buscher called a "miscellaneous investigation."
"They got him released and made sure it wasn't a crime--somebody didn't come in there and handcuff him," Buscher said. "And they made sure there wasn't anybody else involved. Checked through the residence, just made sure everything was okay, made sure he was okay, see if he needed any medical assistance, and he refused any."
Officers documented the incident in a police report, which is available to view below.
We're told the Diocese of Springfield isn't conducting an investigation of its own. A spokeswoman told us it's not uncommon for a priest to ask for leave to address personal matters.
Donovan has been away from the church since December 1. He wrote a statement to alert parishioners. It was read at Masses the weekend after he took leave.
Donovan has been pastor at St. Al's for two and a half years. He also serves as chaplain for the Illinois Air National Guard.
We did attempt to reach Donovan for comment, but the diocese isn't providing contact information for privacy reasons.
A spokeswoman for the diocese also isn't confirming where Donovan is taking his leave.
Monsignor David Lance of St. John's Parish in Sherman is serving as temporary parochial administrator for St. Al's.