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Vatican Reinstates Defrocked Priest Within Catholic Diocese of Owensboro

Lisa Autry

  The Vatican has restored a priest of his duties within the Catholic Diocese of Owensboro. 

Father Joseph Edward Bradley was permanently suspended from public ministry in 2019 following allegations of sexual abuse by two minors in the 1980s. During that time, Fr. Bradley served as Dean of Students and Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School.

The local Diocesan Review Board found the accusations credible and permanently suspended him two years ago. Bradley filed an appeal with the Vatican which immediately reinstated his priestly duties last week. 

The Vatican decree notes “given the imprudent behavior of the cleric throughout the course of his ministry in education, the Congresso (Vatican body) imposes a penal precept (restriction) on the cleric, according to canon 1739, through which he is forbidden to enter any primary or secondary school for a period of five years.”

Fr. Bradley was alread retired, but volunteered part-time as chaplain at Owensboro Catholic High School when the allegations were made.

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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