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      Sexual abuse allegations arise against deceased priest

      Credible allegations of sexual abuse against a child have come forward against a priest that filled in at the St. Michael Parish in Marquette, according to Catholic Diocese officials.

      The Catholic Diocese of Marquette says that allegations have arisen against Father Bernard Van de Schueren, S.J., a priest of the Society of Jesus. The allegations are in regards to an incident involving a boy that reportedly took place in July of 1989.

      "Our first concern is always for the victims/survivors of abuse, and we pray that all of those affected by this situation and others like it will find healing and peace," said Diocesan Director of Ministry Personnel, Kevin Branson.

      According to officials with the church, Father Van der Schueren was filling in for a diocesan priest at St. Michael Parish in Marquette when the alleged abuse occurred. Fr. Van der Schueren passed away in 2009.

      The Catholic Diocese of Marquette says that when the allegations came forward, they immediately began following the Diocese of Marquette's Policy on Sexual Misconduct in Ministry, which included contacting Jesuit leadership. Officials say that the Flemish provincial superior in Belgium has committed himself to full cooperation in the investigation.

      The diocese added that they encourage any other victims/survivors to come forward.

      "If there are other victims/survivors of sexual misconduct by a priest, church worker or volunteer who have not yet made a complaint to the diocese, I encourage them to do so, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred," Branson added. "We want to help them receive counseling and pastoral care on their journey toward healing."

      Officials say that the Chicago-Detroit Province Jesuits have taken charge of the allegations against Fr. Van der Schueren, and the victim has been contacted with offerings of counseling and spiritual assistance.