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Owensboro Diocese Suspends Western Ky. Priest Over Sexual Allegation

Roman Catholic Diocese of Owensboro Kentucky, via Facebook

The Catholic Diocese of Owensboro has suspended the pastor of a Union County church. The priest is accused of sexual misconduct decades ago.

The Reverend Freddie Byrd has been suspended as pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church in Morganfield. A complaint issued this month accuses Byrd of inappropriate sexual contact with a 17-year-old juvenile in 1983. According to a statement from the diocese, Byrd was not a priest at the time of the alleged sexual abuse.

The diocese says it is conducting its own investigation and has notified law enforcement. The Messenger-Inquirer reports Byrd’s name was mentioned in a suicide letter left by an Owensboro man who shot himself outside of Blessed Mother Catholic Church in 2008.

The church was led by Byrd at the time of the death. The letter discussed sexual abuse, but never accused the pastor of misconduct.

An investigation by the Owensboro Police Department cleared Byrd of any wrongdoing.

Lisa is a Scottsville native and WKU alum. She has worked in radio as a news reporter and anchor for 18 years. Prior to joining WKU Public Radio, she most recently worked at WHAS in Louisville and WLAC in Nashville. She has received numerous awards from the Associated Press, including Best Reporter in Kentucky. Many of her stories have been heard on NPR.
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