Update: Diocese Releases Statement on Former Simpsonville Priest's Alleged Sexual Misconduct

Previous pastor and administrator of St. Mary Magdalene, Father Hayden Vaverek, accused of alleged sexual misconduct dating back years while at another Upstate parish.

Update: In the wake of accusations that have surfaced alleging that former St. Mary Magdalene priest and administrator, Father Hayden Vaverek, engaged in alleged sexual misconduct many years ago while at another church, the Diocese of Charleston released the following statement on Sunday.

The full statement, which implies the alleged misconduct took place outside the church, reads:

"An allegation of sexual misconduct of a minor dating back more than 15 years has been made against Father Hayden Vaverek. Per diocesan policy, Father Vaverek must be placed on administrative leave and his priestly faculties withdrawn. Diocesan officials have notified law enforcement authorities about this allegation and are fully cooperating with them.

Father Vaverek served at several parishes and schools in South Carolina including those in: Greenville, Simpsonville, Anderson, Greenwood, McCormick, Myrtle Beach, Garden City, Moncks Corner, Bonneau, and Hilton Head Island. The reported allegation indicates the alleged misconduct occurred while Father Vaverek was pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood; however, no parishioners of that parish were involved in the reported allegation.

The Diocese of Charleston encourages all victims and those who have knowledge of any sexual misconduct to contact civil authorities in their area. To receive help and guidance from the diocese, please contact Sister Sandra Makowski at the Chancery in Charleston at (843) 853-2130 x209.

The Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, asks everyone to pray for all victims of abuse and for their families."

Last week, a man who was representing the catholic church approached an investigator at the Greenwood County Sheriff’s Office, according to a WSPA report. He reportedly told investigators that a sexual incident involving a minor occurred years ago at Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood with Father Hayden Vaverek, who later served a stint as priest and administrator at St. Mary Magdalene in Simpsonville. Deputies said the victim now lives out of state and had someone from the catholic church meet with the Sheriff’s Office to make a report.

Greenwood County deputies said Father Vaverek is in Rome, and have been unable to interview him, according to the report.

Vaverek is the 12th priest in the Charleston Diocese to be publicly accused of sexual misconduct, according to BishopAccountability.org.

Stay with Patch for more details as they develop.

Original article: Father Hayden Vaverek, a former priest and administrator of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Simpsonville, has been accused of alleged sexual misconduct, according to a news report.

Vaguely mentioning an unnamed and uncited report, WYFF said that Vaverek allegedly engaged in unspecified sexual misconduct dating back more than 15 years while he was pastor at Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood.

The Diocese of Charleston reportedly placed Vaverek on administrative leave. Meanwhile, potential victims of the priest's alleged misconduct are encouraged to contact local authorities, the report said.

Father Vaverek received a degree in criminal justice from Texas State University-San Marcos and attended seminary at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, Md. He was ordained in 1994. 

His assignments have included parochial vicar at St. Andrew Church in Myrtle Beach, and pastor at St. Joseph Church and School in Anderson, Our Lady of Lourdes in Greenwood, St. Michael in Garden City, St. Philip Benizi in Moncks Corner, Holy Family on Hilton Head Island and St. Mary Magdalene in Simpsonville, where he was appointed by the diocese in 2008. 

According to his profile on the Linkedin social network, he is currently a Development Officer of the Catholic Near East Welfare Association, a papal agency for humanitarian and pastoral support based in New York City.

Stay tuned to Patch for more details as they become available.

Richard B March 11, 2013 at 01:05 PM
This is still the United States of America, and at least for now a person is still considered innocent under the law until proven guilty. Fr. Vaverek deserves at least that, and does not deserve to be tried and convicted in the court of public opinion. People should hold their tongues about him and let the justice system do its work. The truth will out.
Jimmy March 11, 2013 at 04:37 PM
You are right Brad. If he was innocent he would be shouting it to everyone. But instead he has deleted his facebook account and is nowhere to be found. If anyone can hide it's him as he has connections. he has been to every "Stan" country and all over. He will probably never be seen again. Sad he won't pay for his actions.
Don D. March 11, 2013 at 06:44 PM
Isn't time for the Catholic Church to have an open dialogue with its faithful concerning the pedophiles and gay priests that administer to us. These are supposedly holy men that hear our confessions and how can they possibly abslove us of our sins when they are not in the state of grace.Has the Church become too big to fail? I don't think so. Based on the Church's current teachings and beliefs- they don't have any options but to be forthcomming with the faithfull. Predators can not be moved from church to church to protect catholism. INNOCENCE MUST BE PROTECTED!!!
Dawn March 11, 2013 at 08:14 PM
How could anyone accuse someone of something so horrendous if it were not true? I just can't fathom ruining someone's life without some sort of remorse. I am sure it happens, but so unthinkable. I will continue to pray for all involved.
Hayden's Mom March 11, 2013 at 10:47 PM
My son is named after father Hayden and he has been entertained in my home and I trust him completely with my children. He is an incredible man and I agree fully with what you (Robin Sanders) suspect.. Someone is trying to hurt his reputation. Satan attacks those who have the most potential for the cause of Christ and he absolutely is one of the greats!
Hayden's Mom March 11, 2013 at 10:48 PM
AMEN! But what damage will be done that cannot be reversed? My heart is broken for him!
Bill March 12, 2013 at 12:35 AM
I know Father V very well and these accusations are just that. Shame on the news and the media for already convicting him. For those of you who are attacking his character, perhaps you should look at yourselves in the mirror and clean your up your act!!!
Ira Hirzameyideh March 12, 2013 at 01:10 AM
Then how do you explain the deletion of his facebook account and the fact that he is now running in the hills of Uzbekistan and surrounding countries?
jc March 12, 2013 at 01:29 AM
thank goodness for the internet these cleric criminals should be listed on billboards so all the people can see. Too many priest sex criminals are hiding in the .churches. people have got to wake up. I met exfather hayden a few times and my gut feeling gave me negative thoughts from what I picked up from his personality. My instinctive thoughts were not to trust him. I even told people not to trust him, but the people i told did not listen and said I was wrong when I found out about exfather hayden offenses I called back the people I told them and they did not want to talk about it These people are in deniel. parishoners in the church. trust GOD not priests . priest are human. stop trusting them. trust only God. there is a lot of evil in the church and we need to flush the evil priests out of the church.
jc March 12, 2013 at 01:49 AM
Bill I am looking in the mirror and I am not accused of sexual misconduct unlike father hayden is is the state of SC USA. you say you know him very well. did you live with him? did you know what he did behind closed doors? I think NOT!!!! If he was such a great priest and friend why isn't he here is SC police station telling his side of the story instead he is in "Rome" escaping the reality of his consequences.
Bill March 12, 2013 at 03:03 AM
He's in Rome because he has a job that requires travel. Get the facts straight!
Pastor Bob March 12, 2013 at 03:06 AM
He was in Rome on Military duty. He came home immediately when he found out. He is not running and is not afraid of answering questions. He should be afraid of some of you who are ignoring the basic facts. There is a single ACCUSATION and some of you are calling him a serial rapist who should be crucified. This single accusation has now ruined his ministry and his witness. Who of you would be fine with a life ruined with so little information. I would not wish that on anyone. As for his deleted FaceBook, with so many hateful comments flowing freely from those who do not know him or those who hold a grudge for his strong leadership style, I get it. I would too. My prayers are with my friend (I'm not Catholic, so I would not refer to him as Father). The truth will come out, but it will not reach as many as the sensational accusations. So much for justice.
Bill March 12, 2013 at 03:07 AM
And Ira, you work with him, so you must know he's in Uzbekistan? Give me a break and once again, get the facts straight!
Bill March 12, 2013 at 03:09 AM
Thank you Pastor Bob and Amen!!!
Esther March 12, 2013 at 04:34 AM
No proof that he came home when he found out. He was definitely in Rome but where has he gone since then? I have heard several sources more than your post that he went on the run to central Asia. I suspect he has something big to hide. I knew people who called Vaverek a vicious man, many have said as much here. This will not end well for ex father Vaverek unless he can continue to run.
St.Christopher March 12, 2013 at 04:47 AM
Hayden Vaverek once called out a church member in front of the whole congregation during mass while he was at St Joes in Anderson. He was a sorry excuse for a priest who cared more about things like the number of song books in the pews and candles being a certain height than the actual people of the church. But with that said, he is certainly no child abuser. Only thing he is guilty of is being an ass.
BananaCakes March 12, 2013 at 02:37 PM
Brad, please talk to the authorities about the inappropriate behavior you witnessed.
FYI March 12, 2013 at 02:52 PM
Check out this article. It mentions Father Hayden in it. http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/bal-te.paulin03nov03,0,5300274.story
d lavigne March 12, 2013 at 07:31 PM
AMEN S, thompson...that is the arrogant sleazoid i knew
S. Morris March 12, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Thank you so much for posting that. It mentions a Greenwood, SC man accused of molesting his adopted children. It is very interesting that it mentions Father Vavarek as the one who helped them find their adopted children.
S. Morris March 12, 2013 at 09:23 PM
Thank you so much for posting that. It mentions a Greenwood, SC man accused of molesting his adopted children. It is very interesting that it mentions Father Vavarek as the one who helped them find their adopted children.
Stephen March 16, 2013 at 06:17 AM
How would you like to have to account for your whereabouts and activities fifteen years ago? Didn't the Diocese of Charleston recently announce they had set aside a fund of $12 million for compensation in such cases? How do any of you know that this isn't just somebody out after an easy buck? A crucial point in the investigation will be if any other complaintants show up. In the meantime, he's innocent until found guilty. Either way, he won't be in "limbo." He has a world of friends back in Texas, and elsewhere, and he has his training and extensive experience as a travel agent if he has to look for work outside of the Church and USAF.
p j t March 17, 2013 at 03:37 PM
Brad Your wrong!, What ever your game, I feel sorry for you. I will say a prayer for you. Hayden is in my prayers as are all GOOD and DEVOTED priests. What ever your problem, I hope you can find peace. PJT
M.d.d. March 18, 2013 at 02:36 AM
as our pastor said during his sermon today, cast the first stone you who are without sin. as Pope Francis said during his homily this morning we all need to continue toask for mercy.
jo March 20, 2013 at 01:58 PM
Amen, with the economy and so many accusers out there needing money...what a better way to strike at some one who told you to repent your way of life...where were the parents of these so called abused kids....I never ever left mine alone with any adult....parents are not acting responsible these days....some kill their kids, molest them, sell them for sex....and abuse them mentally and physically...where are the parents...most don't even have a Daddy....much less a Mommy.
Stephen March 26, 2013 at 01:51 AM
For anyone interested in the truth, let it be said that Fr. Hayden was in Rome on military assignment. When this broke he had to return to his HQ in Germany, then arrange transport home. There never was a question of anybody "waiting at the dock with handcuffs." That isn't done in America to someone against whom no criminal charges have been laid. His military pension isn't lost, nor his veteran's benefits earned for service in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Sure, he stood up in court next to someone who plead guilty and was sentenced to prison for molesting a child. What is a priest supposed to do, when a parishioner asks him to come help get through that ordeal? There are lots of clergy of all faiths who minister to condemned prisoners on death row. Does that mean that all those clergy must themselves be guilty of murder, or approve of murder? Father Hayden is not hiding from his diocese. They can reach him on the phone any time they want to, provided they can get through the hundreds of calls Father is getting from supporters all over the USA and overseas, supporters calling to offer prayers, and any other sort of help possible. I was puzzled at first when I read all the vitriolic hatred being spewed out in some of these comments. Then I thought back to my own early life, spent growing up in another part of the USA that also had a long history of lynching. Then it made more sense.
Veronica S. March 26, 2013 at 01:46 PM
Sorry Don, but the effectiveness of a sacrament does not depend on the holiness of the minister. Otherwise we would be in trouble, starting with St. Peter who denied the Lord himself three times. The sacrament works because is Jesus himself who guarantees that.
Rex March 28, 2013 at 03:50 AM
Good lord Stephen you've lost the plot. Your post was good until the bit about lynching.
Bart April 27, 2013 at 09:35 PM
The victim, a credible adult who is highly educated, has chosen not to pursue criminal charges. Instead the victim is allowing the process established by The Charter to Protect Children by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to follow its proper course and to continue it's investigation, render it's decision and ultimately submit the case to Rome, according to published articles in other sources. So the future of Father Vaverek is now an ecclesiastical one which can take many years to decide.
Brad May 08, 2013 at 02:43 PM
In a new release the Diocese has announced that the victim did not report the abuse, the Diocese did in accord with the charter to protect children. The victim wished that Father Hayden be sent to a program of therapeutic healing at a treatment center for priests who abuse children. The Diocese verified that a boundary violation and an act of abuse did occur. Because of this, Father Hayden remains suspended from all priestly ministry and the investigation continues even though no criminal charges will be filed. So it sounds as if Father Hayden's options are to a) seek treatment and b) cooperate with the process. It does not sound as if he will be able to return to ministry any time soon.


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