CINCINNATI (AP) _ The Vatican has reinstated a priest suspended in 2002 over allegations of sexual misconduct and will allow him to return to active ministry after undergoing counseling, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati said.

The decision to reinstate the Rev. James Kiffmeyer was announced Friday, but church officials had not determined where he will serve.

Kiffmeyer, who previously taught high school in Cincinnati and Middletown, was accused of abusing two students in 1990 and around 1986, but the students did not report the allegations until 1997 and 2002.

Kiffmeyer was placed on paid leave in 2002. While on leave, he could not celebrate the sacraments or perform other clerical duties. Kiffmeyer appealed to the Vatican, which ruled the students waited too long to report the allegations.

Under church law, people have a five-year time limit for making such accusations, the archdiocese said.

``After a number of years, it can be very difficult to establish the truth,'' said Dan Andriacco, spokesman for the archdiocese.

A spokeswoman for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests was outraged.

Kiffmeyer ``was removed because of an allegation that the archdiocese found to be credible,'' Christy Miller said. ``I don't understand how he could be allowed to return to ministry after that.''