updated 8/19/2008 9:05:45 AM ET 2008-08-19T13:05:45

A priest has gone to his native Brazil after being accused of sexual assault of a minor in the U.S., church officials said.

A spokesman for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River said the Rev. Jose Afonso Lima left for Brazil after being notified by the Connecticut Department of Children and Families that an abuse allegation against him had been substantiated, The Cape Cod Times reported.

Spokesman John Kearns said Lima was placed on temporary leave last Wednesday after the allegation came to light.

Kearns said Lima denies the allegation.

Lima, a U.S. citizen, has worked on Cape Cod for about 10 years where he ministered to the Brazilian community mostly at St. Francis Xavier Church in Hyannis and St. Pius X Church in Yarmouth.

Kearns said the head of Lima's mission is urging Lima to return to the U.S.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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