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BREAKING: 29 priest, deacons in Mobile Archdiocese accused of child sex abuse

DIGITAL EXTRA: SEVERAL OF THE PRIESTS WERE MOVED TO THE SAME SCHOOLS OR PARISHES AND THE ACCUSATIONS OF ABUSE TIMELINES OVERLAP TOO. CLICK HERE.

 

MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) - 29 priests and deacons have been "credibly accused of sexual misconduct with a child since 1950. That's according to two lists released Thursday by the Archdiocese of Mobile.  11 of the men were directly assigned to the archdiocese. The others did work within the archdiocese. The archdiocese covers the lower 28 counties of Alabama.

 

Archbishop Thomas Rodi says they went through files the past few weeks to search for allegations… The last time they did this was 2003, "I've been hearing and I've been sensing among the people in the church a real desire to be assured, once again, that no one with credible accusations of misconduct are serving in the archdiocese of mobile and just this desire to please tell us the facts."

The other 17 priests and deacons belong to religious orders and served in the archdiocese, but weren't assigned to the area. Some of the accused, 16 of them, are dead. The other 13 are listed as "Prohibited from Ministry Withing Archdiocese." A press release from the archdiocese however does not say if they are allowed to ministry elsewhere, or what other punishment such as criminal charges they may have faced.  Also, some of the accusations happened within the diocese while others were outside. This is a developing story. Stay with WKRG News 5 all day on air and our our digital platforms for the latest. 

 

LIST ONE:

List One - Priests and deacons of the Archdiocese of Mobile who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct involving minors. 
 
Thomas J Cullen  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1950s Pastoral Assignments:  St. Mary Parish, Mobile St. Margaret Parish, Bayou La Batre Cathedral Parish, Mobile St. Monica Parish, Mobile Christ the King Parish, Andalusia St. Mary Parish, Texas City, Texas 
 
 
Vernon Dahmen  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  Mid 1970s to early 1980s Pastoral Assignments:  St. Dominic Parish, Mobile St. Mary Parish, Mobile St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Mobile McGill-Toolen High School, Mobile Little Flower Parish, Mobile St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Chickasaw St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Mobile Allen Memorial Home, Mobile 
 
 
Timothy Evans  PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1998 Pastoral Assignments: Christ the King Parish, Daphne Annunciation Parish, Monroeville St Margaret Parish, Bayou La Batre Director, Office of Youth Ministry 
 
 
 
Joseph Gill   DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  Late 1960s Pastoral Assignments:  Blessed Sacrament Parish, Birmingham St. John Parish, Warrington, Florida Cathedral Parish, Mobile Sacred Heart Parish, Grove Hill St. Columba Parish, Dothan St. Aloysius Parish, Bessemer St. William Parish, Guntersville St. Thomas Parish, Chickasaw St. Catherine Parish, Mobile Sacred Heart Residence, Little Sisters of the Poor, Mobile St. Bridget Parish, Whistler In Residence, St. Anthony Parish, Birmingham 
 
 
James A. Havens  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1986 Pastoral Assignments: St. Dominic Parish, Mobile Little Flower Parish, Mobile St. John Parish, Butler Sacred Heart Parish, Grove Hill St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Mobile 
 
 
Patrick J. L. Nicholson PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1976 Pastoral Assignments: Little Flower Parish, Mobile Assistant Director for Vocations McGill-Toolen High School, Mobile St. Pius X Parish, Mobile St. Joseph Parish, Prattville Chaplain, US Air Force: Little Rock AFB, Arkansas     Clark AFB, Philippines     Dept. of the Air Force, San Francisco, California United States Air Force Academy, Colorado     Maxwell AFB, Montgomery Diocese of Elphin, Ireland 
 
 
 
 
 
Arthur C. Schrenger  PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  Late 1960s to 1982 Pastoral Assignments: Little Flower Parish, Mobile St. Dominic Parish, Mobile McGill-Toolen High School, Mobile St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Mobile Assistant Vocations Director St. Agatha Parish, Bay Minette Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Mobile Holy Spirit Parish, Montgomery Metropolitan Tribunal Cathedral Parish, Mobile 
 
 
John Alex Sherlock  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1966-1982 St. Mary Parish, Mobile Bishop Toolen High School, Mobile Little Flower Parish, Mobile St. Patrick’s College, Mountainview, California Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin McGill Toolen High School, Mobile Cathedral Parish, Mobile Holy Family Parish, Mobile St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Chickasaw Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Mobile St. Pius X Parish, Mobile St. Peter Parish, Montgomery 
 
 
Edward Eugene Smith PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1984 Pastoral Assignments: Our Savior Parish, Mobile Hotel Dieu Hospital, New Orleans St. Pius X Parish, Mobile McGill Toolen High School, Mobile St. Dominic Parish, Mobile 
  
 
John J. Walton  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1970s Pastoral Assignments: St. Margaret Parish, Bayou La Batre US Army Reserve, Military Archdiocese St. Maurice Parish, Brewton Christ the King Parish, Andalusia St. Joan of Arc Parish, Mobile St. Pius X Parish, Mobile Holy Name Parish, Semmes  
 
 
SPECIAL NOTE: Cordell Lang (DECEASED) was removed from ministry based upon accusations submitted to the Archdiocese of Mobile. A civil court jury, however, found in his favor. 
 
 
Archdiocesan Deacon Robert L. Nouwen  PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Convicted of possession of child pornography Date of Misconduct:  2012 Pastoral Assignments: St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Mobile 
 

LIST TWO:

List Two - Priests and men who are not priests (brothers) who belong to religious orders and are not clergy of the Archdiocese of Mobile but have served in this archdiocese.  
 
The Archdiocese of Mobile has received credible accusations against these men. While some accusations involved misconduct within the archdiocese, other accusations involved misconduct elsewhere. However, since all have at some time served in this archdiocese, their names are included as well as their assignments while in this archdiocese. 
 
 
Susai Arul   PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1989-1990 Pastoral Assignments: Little Flower Parish, Mobile 
 
 
Joseph Brown  PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1965-1968 Pastoral Assignments: Shrine of the Holy Cross Parish, Daphne 
 
 
Gregory Furjanic  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1987 Pastoral Assignments: St. Catherine of Siena Parish, Mobile St. Monica Parish, Mobile Immaculate Conception Parish, Orrville Sacred Heart Parish, Grove Hill 
 
 
Robert Grabowski  PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1979 Pastoral Assignments: McGill-Toolen High School, Mobile 
 
John Hardman  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1972-1978 Pastoral Assignments: Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, Mobile 
 
 
 
Timothy Keppel  PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1977-1981 Pastoral Assignments: Resurrection Parish, Montgomery 
 
 
Anthony Kiel   DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1955-1958 Pastoral Assignments: St. Joseph Parish, Maysville 
 
 
Edward Lawler  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1972 Pastoral Assignments: Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception Parish, Birmingham St Peter Claver Parish, Mobile Most Pure Heart of Mary Parish, Mobile St. Joseph Parish, Mobile 
 
 
Edward A. Leary  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1970-1972 Pastoral Assignments:  Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish, Selma 
 
 
Gerald McMahon  PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1967-1970 Pastoral Assignments: St. Benedict School, Elberta 
 
 
Robert Michele  PROHIBITED FROM MINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1963 Pastoral Assignments: Catholic Information Center, Mobile 
 
 
Norman Rogge  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1979-1981 Pastoral Assignments: St. Ignatius Parish, Mobile 
 
 
John Rutledge  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1968 Pastoral Assignments:  St. Michael Parish, Auburn 
 
 
Barry Ryan   PROHIBITED FROM MIINISTRY IN ARCHDIOCESE Date of Misconduct:  1990s Pastoral Assignments: Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery 
 
 
Nelson Ziter   DECEASED     Date of Misconduct:  1974-1979 Pastoral Assignments: Queen of Peace Parish, Selma St. Philip Neri Parish, Belle Fontaine St. Elizabeth Parish, Selma Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Mobile 
 
 
Brothers (Members of Religious Orders Who Are Not Priests) 
 Nicholas Vic Bendillo DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1964-1989 Pastoral Assignments: McGill Institute, Mobile McGill-Toolen High School, Mobile 
 
Ralph McGarry  DECEASED Date of Misconduct:  1960-1961 Pastoral Assignments: Catholic Boys Home 
 

 

COMPLETE LETTER FROM THE ARCHBISHOP:

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
An image often used for the Church is that the Church is the dawn. That is an apt image. The dawn testifies that the night is over and that light has conquered the darkness. At the same time, the dawn is not quite the fullness of the light which is to come. Dawn has a mixture of both light and darkness. So is the Church. The Church is light since it proclaims that the head of the Church, the Lord Jesus, has overcome the darkness. However, the Church is made up of sinners and we sinners often fail to be the people God calls us to be. We cause darkness even as we proclaim the Light. It is important that when we sin we admit to our sinfulness.
The most vulnerable members of the Church, the children, have been grievously hurt by clergy and religious, the very people who should have been trusted to help and not to injure. In addition, the Church has at times failed to act as it should have to immediately protect children and to promptly remove those who have preyed upon them. To all the people of the Church, and especially to the victims of child sexual abuse by clergy and religious, I ask for your forgiveness. From the depths of my heart, I ask your forgiveness.
After considerable prayer and consultation, I have decided to publish the names of all clergy and religious who have served in the Archdiocese of Mobile since 1950 who have credible accusations of sexual misconduct with minors against them. This decision was not made lightly. It is my prayer that this will not re-traumatize anyone but will assist in the healing for which victims desperately long. I also pray that it will help all the people of the Church, and of the broader community, to know that the Archdiocese of Mobile is not allowing anyone to minister in our archdiocese who has credible accusations of sexual misconduct with minors.
Two lists are published with this letter: List One is the list of clergy of the Archdiocese of Mobile who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors. List Two is the list of members of Religious Orders who have served in the Archdiocese of Mobile, both clergy and non-clergy, who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors.
It has been a challenge to compile these lists. Each personnel file has been examined. Since 2003 there has been a written policy regarding complaints of sexual abuse of minors: there is an office for the protection of minors and adults which receives complaints, accusations are reported to civil authority, and a review board composed mostly of lay people not employed by the archdiocese reviews the cases and makes recommendations. Before 2003, however, there were a variety of ways in which accusations were received and investigated and this has presented challenges in compiling these lists.
These lists have been shared with the Office of the State Attorney General and with the Office of the District Attorney of Mobile County. But, more importantly, it is being shared with you, the people of our archdiocese. Some of you may be surprised to see on these lists the name of a priest who served in your parish and whom you knew well. I pray that God will give you peace of mind and heart.
I wish to assure you that the Archdiocese of Mobile is committed to following the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People which the US bishops enacted in 2002. In doing so may I draw your attention to two things. As you will notice, almost all these acts of misconduct were many years ago. That is in no way to excuse the devastating harm of child abuse. The injury that sexual abuse of a minor inflicts lasts for many years. At the same time, the fact that these horrible acts of misconduct are many years ago, reflects the commitment of the Church to protect young people from abuse while they are involved in Church ministries.
The other fact is that, even though one abuser is far too many, these accusations of abuse involve approximately 2% of the 457 archdiocesan priests who have served in the archdiocese since 1950. (The decades-old records do not make it possible to accurately determine the number of religious order clerics and non-clerics who have served in the Archdiocese since 1950. I presume the percentage would be similar.) I wish to take this opportunity to thank you, our good and faithful clergy and religious who serve in the Archdiocese of Mobile. Thank you for your ministry. You bring the love of God to many and many to the love of God. I ask all the people of our Church to pray for and support you.
After considerable effort, these lists are as complete as possible. However, if anyone wishes to report a cleric or religious not included in these lists, please contact the Office for the Protection of Minors and Adults, 251-434-1559.
In closing, allow me to again apologize for the devastating harm done by clerics and religious who have abused the little ones. I ask the forgiveness of all victims of abuse as I entrust you to the love and mercy of the Lord. I deeply believe the Lord is with us. After all, we are His Church. Despite our failings, sins, and unfaithfulness, He remains faithful to us and leads us, individually and as a Church, to new life. May His healing love be with all of us
Sincerely in the Lord,
Most Reverend Thomas J. Rodi
Archbishop of Mobile

 


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