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Diocese of Jackson releases names in abuse claims

Update (3/19/19):

The Catholic Diocese of Jackson has issued their list of credibly accused clergy and ministers who were removed from the ministry due to an accusation of abuse of a minor.

Bishop Joseph Kopacz sent a letter to parishes in the Diocese of Jackson providing Catholics with more details and a list of names.

His letter read:

“Dear Friends in Christ,
This week the Diocese of Jackson will release the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. It is our hope and prayer that releasing these names will confirm our commitment to transparency in the pursuit of our Promise to Protect and our Pledge to Heal the harm caused by abuse in the church. The list will be posted on the diocesan website on Tuesday, March 19, and will be printed inside the Mississippi Catholic set to come out at the end of the week.
We know that this list will cause pain to many individuals and communities and I am truly, deeply sorry for that pain. The crime of abuse of any kind is a sin, but the abuse of children and vulnerable adults is especially egregious. First and foremost, it is a sin against the innocent victims, but also a sin against the Church and our communities. It is a sin that cries out for justice.
The time for trying to keep these cases quiet in the church has come to an end. We now know that this deep wound in the Body of Christ will not heal until we lay bare the sins of the past and work together toward reconciliation. Releasing this list is not the end of a process, it is another step forward in the ongoing effort to reform our church.
In addition to the list, look for additional information about how our Office of Child Protection and Safe Environments is working to screen and educate employees and volunteers as well as educating children and families in self-protection, in hopes of preventing abuse in the future.
The majority of the cases on our list are from the past. This does not make them any less hurtful or significant, but it does indicate that the measures the Church and the Diocese of Jackson have put into place to prevent abuse are having an impact.
We know it can take years for a victim to come forward. We want to hear from those who have been abused by a member of the clergy or an employee of the church. Not only is it our legal duty to report these cases, helping victims find healing and wholeness is our moral imperative. Anyone can contact our Victim’s Assistance Coordinator Valerie McClellan at (601) 326-3728 to seek help.
Again, I apologize from the depths of my heart to those who have been sexually abused by clergy and church personnel, to the families damaged by these crimes and to the Catholic community for the scandal this scourge has brought upon our Church. There is no room for this evil in our society or our churches.
It is my hope that the release of this list during the penitential season of Lent will remind us to pray for all those impacted by abuse and recommit all of us to the Promise to Protect and the Pledge to Heal.
Sincerely yours in Christ,

+ Joseph R. Kopacz
Bishop of Jackson”

This report contains the names of all clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of which the Diocese of Jackson is aware. An accusation is considered credible when it has been investigated, presented to their Independent Fitness Review Board and deemed to be specific and believable. Civil authorities determine if an accusation is a crime. Not everyone on this list was charged or convicted of a crime. None of these men are still in active ministry.

The list includes the names of the priests, a list of locations where they served, when the abuse is reported to have happened and when it was reported to the diocese. You may notice a gap between the abuse date and the reporting date. The diocese may not have been aware of the abuse before a priest was moved to another parish. Not all victims report their abuse right away. This is why the work the church is doing to remove the stigma of reporting is so critical. The sooner they know about an allegation, the sooner they can take action to protect those vulnerable to abuse.

In a few cases, psychologists of that time treated a priest and deemed him safe to go back into ministry. While the science of that time believed such treatment could be effective, they now know this is not the case; and every priest, deacon, lay employee or volunteer who abuses a minor today will be permanently removed from ministry.

The Diocese of Jackson presented all of its cases to the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office in 2002 and again in 2019 in an effort to ensure transparency and a spirit of cooperation. When the diocese receives new credible reports, those are presented to the Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, law enforcement or the district attorney in the place where the abuse is alleged to have taken place.

The Diocese of Jackson has records for close to 1,000 priests who served there during its 180-year history. This investigation examined the files dating back to 1924.

Diocesan Priests:

Thomas Boyce
Born: 1941 Ordained: 1966
Current Status: Removed 2002; Deceased 2002
Assignments: St. Mary, Batesville; St. Jude, Pearl; All Saints, Belzoni; St. Michael, Vicksburg; St. Peter, Jackson; St. Alphonsus, Ocean Springs
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1972-1973 – Jackson
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2002

George Broussard
Born: 1935 Ordained: 1966
Current Status: Left Ministry 1975; Deceased 2007
Assignments: St. Clare, Waveland; St. Peter, Jackson; Diocesan Chancellor; St. John, Gulfport
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1969-1974 – multiple locations
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2002

Paul Canonici
Born: 1927 Ordained: 1957
Current Status: Retired 1998; removed from ministry – 2002
Assignments: St. Joseph School, Jackson/Madison; St. Francis, Madison; Superintendent of Education; St. Joseph, Starkville; St. Joseph, Gluckstadt
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1983 – Madison area
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1997

Nelius Downing
Born: 1883 Ordained: 1914
Current Status: Deceased prior to accusation
Assignments: Sacred Heart, Canton; St. Patrick, Meridian; St. Mary, Natchez; Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St. Louis; St. Elizabeth, Clarksdale; St. Michael, Biloxi;
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1939 – Meridian
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2002

Bernard Haddican
Born: 1933 Ordained: 1960
Current Status: Retired 1991; Deceased 1996
Assignments: Sacred Heart, Rosedale; Our Lady of Victories, Cleveland; St. Elizabeth, Clarksdale; St. Michael, Vicksburg; St. Mary, Shelby; St. John, Oxford; St. Joseph, Greenville; St. Richard, Jackson; Sacred Heart, Hattiesburg; Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St. Louis; St. Mary, Natchez
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1964-84 – multiple locations
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1998/2002

Kenneth Harris
Born: 1912 Ordained: 1940
Current Status: Excardinated to Steubenville Diocese 1955; Deceased prior to accusation 1964
Assignments: St. Joseph, Greenville; St. James, Leland; St. Bernardine, San Berardino, CA; St. Mary, Natchez, Sacred Heart, Hattiesburg; St. Paul, Vicksburg; St. Teresa, Chatawa
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1951 – Steubenville, Ohio
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1998/2003

Michael Irwin
Born: 1943 Ordained: 1970
Current Status: Deceased prior to accusation 1993
Assignments: St. Mary, Natchez; St. Paul, Vicksburg
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1975 – Vicksburg
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2005

James Kircher
Born: 1931 Ordained: 1963
Current Status: Removed from ministry 1987; Deceased 2007
Assignments: St. Benedict/ Immaculate Conception, Indianola; Sacred Heart, Canton; St. Mary, Shelby; St. Therese, Jackson; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Lumberton (Seneca); Immaculate Heart of Mary, Greenwood; St. Paul, Vicksburg
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1978-82 – multiple locations
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1986/2002

John Leonard
Born: 1920 Ordained: 1948
Current Status: Deceased prior to accusation 2003
Assignments: St. Paul, Vicksburg; St. Francis, Shaw; St. Mary, Batesville; St. John, Sardis; Our Lady of Victories, Cleveland; All Saints, Belzoni; St. Mary, Yazoo City; Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St. Louis
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1952-56 – Bay St. Louis
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2004

Paul Madden
Born: 1946 Ordained: 1970
Current Status: Retired; Incardinated in diocese in Peru
Assignments: Society of St. James, Peru; St. John, Crystal Springs; Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Saltillo, Mexico; St. Mary, Natchez; Holy Family, Jackson; St. Alphonsus, Ocean Springs
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1973 – Ireland
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1993

Robert Olivier
Born: 1930 Ordained: 1957
Current Status: removed from ministry 2006
Assignments:St. Joseph, Gluckstadt; St. Peter, Jackson; St. Therese, Jackson; St. Joseph, Greenville; Sacred Heart, Hattiesburg
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1957-59 – Hattiesburg
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2006

Francis Reid
Born: 1925 Ordained: 1948
Current Status: Left ministry in 1970s; Deceased 1993
Assignments: St. Peter, Jackson; St. Joseph, Greenville; Assistant Chancellor; St. Jude, Pearl; St. James, Leland
Date(s) of alleged abuse:1963-65 – Leland
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2014

Kevin Reid
Born: 1934 Ordained: 1958
Current Status: Left ministry in 1976; Deceased
Assignments: Holy Trinity, Columbia; Our Lady of Fatima, Biloxi; Immaculate Heart of Mary, Greenwood; Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St. Louis
Date(s) of alleged abuse:1961-66 – Bay St. Louis
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2002

Ivan Siekman
Born: 1946 Ordained: 1975
Current Status: Left ministry 1990; Faculties removed 2003
Assignments: Sacred Heart, Biloxi
Date(s) of alleged abuse:1972-73 – Bay St. Louis
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2003

Jack Smith
Born: 1941 Ordained: 1970
Current Status: Deceased prior to accusations
Assignments: St. Michael, Vicksburg; Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St. Louis; St. Joseph, Starkville; St. Alphonsus, Ocean Springs; St. Joseph, Greenville
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1972 – 1980 multiple sites
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2003

James Taylor 
Born: 1927 Ordained: 1954
Current Status: Retired prior to accusation; Deceased
Assignments: St. Mary, Woolmarket; St. Peter, Bassfield; Immaculate Conception, Laurel; St. Michael, Forest; St. Joseph, Woodville; St. Joseph, Greenville; St. Therese, Jackson; St. Paul, Vicksburg; Our Lady of the Gulf, Bay St. Louis; St. Mary, Yazoo City; Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Biloxi; St. Mary, Jackson
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1962 – Woodville
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1998

Thomas Williams
Born: 1913 Ordained: 1940
Current Status: Deceased prior to accusation 1983
Assignments: Our Lady of Fatima, Biloxi; St. John, Gulfport; St. Francis, Brookhaven; St. Paul, Pass Christian; St. Mary, Natchez; St. Paul, Vicksburg
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1958 – Gulfport
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2002/2012

Extern Priests:

Daniel O’Hanlon – Diocese of Springfield, Ill.
Born: 1897 Ordained: 1923
Current Status: Deceased prior to accusation 1969
Assignments: St. Michael, Biloxi; St. Charles Borromeo, Picayune; St. Mary, Jackson
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1966-67 – Biloxi
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1993/2002

Permanent Deacons:

Richard Caldwell
Born: 1957 Ordained: 2016
Current Status: removed from ministry 2018
Assignments: St. Mary, Vicksburg
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1981 – Vicksburg
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2018

Religious Order members accused in Diocese of Jackson:

Cuthbert Bender, Order of St. Benedict
Born: 1913 Ordained: 1938
Current Status: Deceased prior to accusation 1968
Assignments: Annunciation, Columbus; St. James, Tupelo; St. Francis, Aberdeen; St. Teresa, Chatawa
Date(s) of alleged abuse: late 1950s – Aberdeen area
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2008

Tim Crowley, Congregation of the Holy Spirit
Born: 1917 Ordained: 1939
Current Status: Deceased prior to accusation
Assignments: St. Paul, Vicksburg; St. Teresa, Chatawa
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1968 – Chatawa
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2018

Thomas Dullard, Order of St. Augustine
Born: 1939 Ordained: 1965
Current Status: removed from ministry 1974; deceased
Assignments: Christ the King, Jackson; St. Joseph School, Jackson
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1973 – Jackson
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1973

Joseph Guidry, Society of the Divine Word
Born: 1926 Ordained: 1963
Current Status: removed from ministry 2004
Assignments: Sacred Heart, Greenville; St. Gabriel, Mound Bayou
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1980 – Greenville
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2004

Patrick Lee, Society of the Divine Word
Born: 1935 Ordained: 1967
Current Status: removed from ministry 1988
Assignments: St. Mary, Vicksburg; Immaculate Conception, Clarksdale; Sacred Heart, Greenville
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1988 – Vicksburg
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1988

Vincent MacDonald, Priests of the Sacred Heart
Born: 1931 Ordained: 1958
Current Status: removed from ministry 2002; deceased 2017
Assignments: Sacred Heart, Walls
Date(s) of alleged abuse: Early 1970s – Walls
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2002

Peter Richardson, Glenmary
Born: 1958 Ordained: 1986
Current Status: removed from Ministry 2010; Deceased 2014
Assignments: St. Francis, Aberdeen
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1987-90 – Aberdeen
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2014

Gerald Swift, Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity
Born: 1916 Ordained: 1946
Current Status: Deceased 2007
Assignments: Immaculate Conception, Camden; Annunciation, Kiln; Sacred Heart, Louisville
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1978 – Kosciusko
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2002

Vance Thorne, Society of the Divine Word
Born: 1921 Ordained: 1954
Current Status: removed from diocesan ministry 1987; Deceased 2004
Assignments: Holy Ghost, Jackson; St. Mary, Vicksburg
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1986
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1986

Brother Don Lucas, Order of Friars Minor
Born: N/A
Current Status: Deceased
Assignments: St. Francis, Greenwood
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1998 – Greenwood
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2018

Brother Paul West, Order of Friars Minor
Born: N/A
Current Status: removed from ministry; left the religious life
Assignments: St. Francis, Greenwood
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1993-98 – Greenwood
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1998/2018

Religious Order members accused elsewhere who served in Diocese of Jackson:

Ernest Hill, Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity
Born: 1922 Ordained: 1951
Current Status: suspended 1994; Deceased 2003
Assignments: Immaculate Conception, Camden; Annunciation, Kiln
Date(s) of alleged abuse:1992 – Indiana
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1994

Aedan Manning, Missionary Servants of the Most Holy Trinity
Born: 1937 Ordained: 1963
Current Status: retired 2002; Deceased 2008
Assignments: St. John, Crystal Springs; St. Richard, Jackson; Diocesan Tribunal, Judicial Vicar; Diocesan Director of Permanent Diaconate
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1967 – New Jersey
Date(s) abuse was reported: 1991

Robert Poandl, Glenmary
Born: 1941 Ordained: 1968
Current Status: removed from ministry 2010; Deceased – 2019
Assignments: St. Francis, Aberdeen
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1991 – West Virginia
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2010

James Stein, Premonstratensians (Norbertines)
Born: 1950 Ordained: 1986
Current Status: removed from ministry 2003
Assignments: St, Joseph School, Madison; St. Moses the Black Priory, Raymond
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1988
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2003

Vincent Watches, Society of the Divine Word
Born: 1919 Ordained: 1946
Current Status: Deceased 1995
Assignments: Holy Ghost, Jackson
Date(s) of alleged abuse: N/A – See Catholic Diocese of Austin’s list of accused clergy
Date(s) abuse was reported: N/A

Extern Priests accused elsewhere who served in the Diocese of Jackson:

Arnulfo Arandia – Ecuador
Born: 1956 Ordained: 1980
Current Status: Faculties removed 2002
Assignments: Diocesan Office of Hispanic Ministry
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1988 – Dade County, Florida
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2002

William Wiebler – Diocese of Davenport, Iowa
Born: 1928 Ordained: 1955
Current Status: Deceased 2006
Assignments: Worked for Sacred Heart League, Walls
Date(s) of alleged abuse: 1970s & 80s – Iowa
Date(s) abuse was reported: 2006

Original report (11/12/18):

Mississippi has been named in a recent statement from The Archdiocese of Mobile regarding child abuse accusations.

Archbishop Thomas J. Rodi, of Mobile, said each of the four Catholic dioceses in Alabama and Mississippi (Mobile, Birmingham, Jackson, Biloxi), will issue their own list of “the names of clergy and religious who were removed from the ministry due to an accusation of abuse of a minor”.

The statement said it is a time-consuming effort to examine each clergy personnel file from the last almost seven decades, but this effort is underway and will be completed as quickly as possible.

Archbishop Rodi added that the list of the Archdiocese of Mobile will include accusations since 1950.

We will update the story as we have more information available.

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