CROOKSTON (AP) -- The Crookston Catholic diocese has accepted the resignation of a priest who said gossip over a 1984 child pornography conviction destroyed his credibility as a minister.
The Rev. Rick Boyd, 52, had been a priest at St. Mary's in Fosston and St. Joseph's in Bagley for two years. He served in Park Rapids for 11 years and Middle River for three years.
On Thursday, he offered his resignation to Bishop Victor Balke. It was accepted with regret, said Monsignor Roger Grundhaus.
Recent concerns from some parishioners centered on Boyd's 1984 conviction for possessing child pornography while serving as a priest at Sacred Heart in East Grand Forks.
Last week, Grundhaus met with parishioners to hear their concerns. And Balke said Sunday Mass at both churches and met afterward with parishioners.
Boyd told the Grand Forks Herald that groundless accusations forced him to leave.
"I feel like I'm a victim here," he said.
After being arrested in October 1984, Boyd pleaded guilty to possessing magazines showing boys under 18 in a variety of sexual acts. He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to undergo therapy.
Boyd fully complied with the sentence, Grundhaus said.
Grundhaus said there has never been any evidence that Boyd has victimized anyone, but that the bishop accepted Boyd's resignation to allay parishioners' concerns.
Tim Arneson, of the Bagley parish, said he's concerned that church officials seem to downplay Boyd's past problems.
"He says there are no victims," Arneson said. "We don't want to have any victims."
Boyd's next assignment hasn't been decided, but it's sure to be "low-profile," involving perhaps desk work, not parish ministry, Grundhaus said.
Boyd said he wants to serve the diocese in whatever way the bishop wants.
"This is just so frustrating to me because there's nothing to it, to any of it," he said of the recent complaints. "I have a right to my good name. If you have evidence, show it. If not, then let me be."
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