News of Riverton, Lander and Fremont County, Wyoming, from the Ranger's award winning journalists.
Chaplain fired amid conduct allegations
Nov 30, 2012 - By Christina George, Staff Writer
Wyoming Catholic College took the action against the Rev. Stuart MacDonald.
Wyoming Catholic College officials said a chaplain was fired from the Lander school last week amid allegations of improper conduct with students.
WCC public relations official Matthew Brasmer used a press release to announce that the Rev. Stuart MacDonald's dismissal was effective Nov. 19.
The termination follows an internal investigation by the college, which revealed MacDonald's improper conduct and language with students and a pattern of behavior Brasmer called unacceptable as a Catholic college chaplain.
"I will confirm we currently have an open investigation into allegations of misconduct," Lander police chief Jim Carey said.
Carey said the investigation involves an anonymous letter sent to individuals, including the Lander Journal, that alleges MacDonald sexually abused students. Carey would not say how long the LPD investigated the allegations nor how many alleged victims are involved.
"We're making sure we're being very thorough," he added.
Both Carey and Fremont County Attorney Brian Varn declined to comment about any possible criminal investigation or charges against MacDonald.
"Wyoming Catholic College is taking steps to communicate this information within the college community, while reaching out to our students to affirm their needs at this time," Brasmer said.
He said the investigation occurred over the course of a couple of weeks.
He said MacDonald, who is from Canada, began working at WCC in mid-August. The college told the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that MacDonald's employment visa should be terminated, Brasmer said.
"We are actively searching for a replacement," he added.
Brasmer said he is not aware of a similar incident happening at WCC since its establishment in 2005.
"Our students and staff are deeply saddened by the recent news, but we trust in God that he will find the right next chaplain," Brasmer said.
According to MacDonald's blog, he was ordained in 1997 and is a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of St. Catharines in Ontario, Canada.