The Catholic Church has placed a Post Falls priest on administrative leave after an allegation of sexual misconduct with a man younger than 18 dating back to 1981 in Idaho Falls.
Bishop Michael Driscoll notified the North Idaho parish last weekend that the Rev. William R. Gould was placed on leave May 4.
Gould was ordained in 1965 and was the priest at St. George’s Catholic Church.
Gould has denied the allegation, according to a statement issued Monday by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise.
“Father Gould, as well as the person who made the allegation, will remain in my prayers as this difficult situation is resolved,” Driscoll said in the statement.
The bishop said he is following procedures for handling the allegation as directed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in 2002 at the peak of a priest sexual abuse scandal.
Driscoll said there is no way to determine how long it will take to investigate the allegation. Findings will also be sent to Rome for guidance.
It’s not the first time Gould has been placed on leave. The Diocese of Boise granted Gould’s request for leave in 2005 amid allegations of sexual misconduct.
A diocese spokeswoman at the time told The Spokesman-Review that Gould had done nothing illegal. The Post Falls Police Department was told of Gould’s 2005 suspension but was assured by the diocese that it was not a criminal matter, meaning no youths were involved, according to Lt. Greg McLean.
Administrative leave means Gould can’t function publicly as a Catholic priest, can’t wear a priest collar and is forbidden from publicly celebrating Mass.