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Priest leaves St. Ambrose parish after protests


St. Louis, MO – A Catholic priest once accused of possessing nude photos of boys in Washington state has left St. Ambrose parish on the Hill in St. Louis. Darell Mitchell cites personal reasons for his departure.

The priest sex abuse victims group SNAP has in recent weeks protested Mitchell's reassignment to two St. Louis-area parishes.

Mitchell was accused three years of having nude pictures of boys on his computer in Washington. But no charges were ever filed and Mitchell has said he was falsely accused. SNAP, though, says the St. Louis archdiocese should never have allowed the priest to work in the area.

Mitchell was at the Yakima, Wash. diocese when the allegations surfaced in 2003; Monsignor John Ecker, with Yakima's diocese, says Mitchell left the Missouri post "just because he's been hounded so much." He says church officials continue to think Mitchell is fit for ministry.

Mitchell also was assigned to St. Joseph Catholic Church in Clayton.