Coast Guard chaplain reassigned after failure to report on sexual misconduct case — By: Catholic News Agency

Captain (Father) Daniel Mode — who remains a priest in good standing — has been reassigned to an “administrative position” in the US Navy Chief of Chaplains Office, according to the Archdiocese for Military Services, USA. / Public Domain

CNA Staff, Apr 30, 2024 / 17:10 pm (CNA).

 The US Coast Guard removed a Catholic priest Wednesday as its head chaplain over his failure to “take appropriate action” after being made aware of “pre-service sexual misconduct by another chaplain.”

Captain (Father) Daniel Mode — who remains a priest in good standing — has been reassigned to an “administrative position” in the US Navy Chief of Chaplains Office, according to the Archdiocese for Military Services, USA.

The Coast Guard did not provide the identity of the unnamed chaplain involved in the sexual misconduct case. But the military branch said that the individual “has already been removed from the Coast Guard and Navy,” according to Stripes.com.

In that statement, the Coast Guard said that an “administrative investigation found that Capt. Mode did not take appropriate action when made aware of pre-service sexual misconduct by another chaplain.”

Mode did not violate any laws or policies requiring punitive action, the Coast Guard said, but instead demonstrated a “failure in judgment below what is expected from his key leadership position.”

The priest has served as the branch’s head chaplain since 2022 and has been ministering and serving in the military since 1988.

Mode was the chaplain for the “Lone Survivor” SEAL team in Afghanistan and authored a book about the famed “Grunt Padre,” Father Vincent Capodanno.

In a statement Friday, the Archdiocese for Military Services, USA, said that Archbishop Broglio “is confident that within hours of receiving documentation of the 2011 incident of sexual misconduct, Father Mode ensured and directed that key Coast Guard personnel and chaplains responsible for advising and briefing their commanders were emailed all of the detailed and pertinent documents.”

The priest told Broglio that “he believed that his initial report in 2022 would be more broadly communicated,” the statement said. 

“However, having reviewed the Coast Guard’s investigation findings, Father Mode now realizes that his presumption that all field commanders involved in the case were informed following the initial report, was incorrect,” the statement said. 

Mode told Broglio that he “fully embraces” the core values of the Coast Guard, the statement said. The priest “has earnestly worked to ensure his priorities were aligned with the Commandant’s expectations,” the archdiocese said.

“[Mode] stressed the importance of recognizing ‘biases and barriers’ to intervention regarding allegations of sexual assault and apologized profoundly for the circumstances that led to his removal as Chaplain of the Coast Guard which he views as his own leadership failure,” the statement said.

Mode fully supports the Coast Guard’s efforts to address sexual assault “with full accountability and transparency,” the statement said.

“Archbishop Broglio expressed his continued confidence in Father Mode’s giftedness as a Catholic priest and chaplain and his dedication to building and maintaining a safe environment in the Church,” the statement concluded. 

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