By John Clark
This week, Bishop Robert McManus, the 61-year-old leader of the Roman Catholic Church in Worcester, Massachusetts, pleaded not guilty to a charge of drunk driving, according to a report from Fox News.
Sources say McManus was arrested for a DUI in Narragansett, Rhode Island, after reportedly crashing into another car and fleeing from the scene, according to a police report.
The driver of the car that McManus allegedly struck reportedly called police after the accident. Sources also note that McManus has a vacation home near the scene of the accident.
After his arrest, McManus was briefly detained by police, but sources say the bishop pleaded not guilty during his arraignment and has been released from jail after posting a $1,000 bond.
During the arraignment, where he formally received his charges, the bishop wore his white clerical collar and sat in silence, allowing his local DUI attorney to enter the plea for him, sources say.
His attorney told reporters outside the courtroom that the bishop has been instructed to refrain from commenting on the matter.
The attorney, however, did cite a statement issued by McManus on Monday that admitted to a “terrible error in judgment” stemming from the bishop’s decision to drive after drinking a few glasses of wine earlier that evening.
In his statement, McManus said there was “no excuse for the mistake I made,” and he promised to “make amends and accept the consequences of my action.”
McManus also made a sincere plea for forgiveness from his church community, as well as his friends and family, according to sources.
Despite this apparent confession, though, McManus pleaded not guilty in court, which means his DUI attorney may believe the bishop could escape the charges of drunk driving and fleeing the scene of an accident.
Sources say McManus refused to take a blood alcohol test at the scene of the crime, which could lead to further civil penalties, but also complicates the prosecutor’s attempt to convict him.
The bishop is a native of Providence, Rhode Island, and reportedly worked as an auxiliary bishop in Rhode Island’s largest city for five years.
In 2004, McManus was appointed to lead the Worcester Diocese in Massachusetts. Sources say he has also served as the chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee on Education.
The bishop’s next court appearance will happen on May 28, when he will begin to fight against the drunk driving charges the state has leveled against him.