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Sexual misconduct charge made against late Decatur priest

A deceased Decatur priest has been accused of sexual misconduct with a boy three decades ago, Fort Worth Roman Catholic Diocese officials said Monday.

The diocese was notified about the allegations against the priest, the Rev. Francis A. Zimmerer, on Aug. 25, by the man's spouse, diocese officials said.

"We've received a credible allegation," said the Rev. James Hart, chancellor of the diocese. "This would have happened when he was 11 years of age, which would be 1978."

Zimmerer, a Benedictine order priest, died in 1983 at age 74. The alleged victim, who is now 42, lives out of state but was a member of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church as a boy. He was allegedly abused in the priest's rectory.

After being notified of the allegation, Hart contacted the diocese conduct review board and then Decatur police. The diocese has offered the man counseling.

Hart contacted the Star-Telegram about the allegation, continuing the diocese's policy of openly airing allegations of sexual abuse. Hart said the diocese has received no other allegations against Zimmerer.