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Owensboro Diocese Releases Stats on Sex Abuse Claims

Diocese of Owensboro

The Catholic Diocese of Owensboro says it has received 66 sexual abuse allegations since it was founded in 1937. 

The diocese released newly compiled statistics on Monday showing that the accusations were against 27 priests, 11 of whom were deceased at the time the claims were made. 

The diocese released the information in a news release.

“In light of everything taking place nationally in the Catholic Church, I would like to share some numbers from our diocese, thereby accounting for those who have caused harm,” said the Most Reverend William F. Medley. “It saddens and angers me that we have numbers to report, but unfortunately humanity fails as sin takes root in hearts.”

The diocese made no mention of whether there were allegations against any current priests.   The diocese has paid more than $620,000 in assistance and settlements to victims of child sex abuse. 

Bishop Medley was unavailable for comment on Monday, but in aninterview with WKU Public Radio last month, he encouraged other possible victims to step forward with their accusations.

"We will, in every case, report that to the commonwealth's attorney even if it's a historic case where the accused has been long deceased," Medley stated. "We still want it to be a matter of record."

There have only been four allegations within the Owensboro Diocese since 2002 when the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops adopted reforms aimed at increasing protections for youth.  The diocese has conducted more than 27,000 background checks and trained more than 84,000 youth in abuse prevention since 2002. 

The Diocese of Owensboro supports 78 parishes and 18 Catholic schools in western Kentucky.  The diocese is holding listening sessions with the public this month and next in Owensboro, Hopkinsville, and Paducah.

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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