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Springfield Diocese Suspends Youth Group Over Allegation Of 'Inappropriate Behavior'

 The office of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield, Massachusetts, in a file photo.
Nancy Eve Cohen
The office of the bishop of the Springfield Catholic Diocese.

The Springfield Catholic Diocese has suspended its relationship with a youth group after a complaint of inappropriate behavior.

The diocese said it received a complaint accusing the founder of the New Spirit youth ministry, Barry Kingston, of "inappropriate behavior with minors," according to a statement.

In addition, the diocese said other leaders of the group took no action when a camp counselor told them about the alleged behavior.

The diocese declined to provide additional details of the accusation. 

While it looks into the complaint, the diocese said it is canceling a summer camp at Camp Holy Cross in Goshen that was due to be run by New Spirit.

The statement described New Spirit as an "independently run" non-profit organization separate from the diocese and the camp.

The diocese has also reported the complaint to the Northwestern District Attorney, as required by an agreement between the diocese and western Massachusetts district attorneys.

In a statement, the Northwestern DA's office said it's pleased the diocese is conducting its own investigation and was proactive in canceling the camp.

Reached by phone on Friday, Kingston — a Springfield-area musician — said he had no comment about the accusations against him.

Like many across the country, Springfield's Catholic diocese has been in the spotlight in recent years following accusations of sexual abuse by clergy.

Karen Brown is a radio and print journalist who focuses on health care, mental health, children’s issues, and other topics about the human condition. She has been a full-time radio reporter for NEPM since 1998.
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