Tag: Diocese of St. Augustine

Florida Diocese Hides Abuse Even During a 2020 Criminal Investigation

And in the category of Most Secretive Florida Catholic Diocese, the award goes to. . . .St. Augustine!

Records obtained by law enforcement, show that St. Augustine diocesan officials hid recent abuse reports against a priest, EVEN IN THE MIDDLE OF A STATEWIDE ATTORNEY GENERAL INVESTIGATION into church abuse and concealment cases.
https://www.news4jax.com/i-team/2021/02/04/former-jacksonville-bishops-failed-to-report-sexual-abuse-allegations-records-show/

And the records contain the names of several credibly accused predator priests whose identities would have almost certainly remained secret if not for that Attorney General probe.

Remember, it was nearly 20 years ago that every U.S. bishop pledged to reform their mishandling of abuse reports, a pledge often honored only in the breach. This pledge, it turns out, was apparently easier for them to make than to uphold.

While the Florida Attorney General’s Office of Statewide Prosecution was investigating the Catholic abuse scandal just a year ago, a St. Augustine priest – Fr. D. Terrence Morgan – was under investigation by a local police department for a lewd and lascivious act on a child, including allegations he grabbed a child’s butt and sent sexually explicit text messages.

Did St. Augustine Bishop Felipe Estevez share that report with the AG’s office? Nope.

Here are more details:

In 2019, St. Augustine police interviewed Fr. D. Terrence Morgan and his former pastor Fr. Tom Willis.  Fr. Willis admitted he got complaints about Fr. Morgan’s ‘boundary issues’ and he relayed them to his church superiors in 2017.

Fr. Morgan told investigators he’d had “inappropriate contact with a male student” and had “a relationship with two 19-year-old men” but denied any sexual contact with them.

Again, in 2019, St. Augustine’s bishop and his staff – virtually all of them – knew the Florida AG was looking into clergy sex crimes. But not a single person called or wrote the investigators.

Nor did the church hierarchy tell investigators with the Office of Statewide Prosecution about an allegation Fr. Morgan had a sexual relationship with a teenager in 1977.

According to a news account: “The report was filed with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office in September 2020 during the state’s investigation.

The Office of Statewide Prosecution didn’t publish its findings until November 2020. The next month, finally, St. Augustine diocese told parishioners the next month there were allegations against Fr. Morgan with a “semblance of truth” and the diocese was conducting a canonical investigation.

The files obtained from the Diocese of St. Augustine have internal investigative documents, emails and notes from cases involving Fr. Thomas McNamara, Fr. Richard Bowles, Fr. William Malone and Fr. William Weinheimer — all credibly accused of sexual abuse. Noticeably missing from the records are files on Fr. John H. Dux, a priest named in the state’s probe of sex abuse in the church and who the Diocese of St. Augustine reported was credibly accused of molesting a child in 1976.

(Morgan taught at Bishop Kenny High School and worked at Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine. He retired in 2019.)

(At least three clerics on that list are still alive: Fr. Dux, Jr., Fr David McCreanor and Fr. Michael E. Morse )

Just three months ago, the AG’s final investigation was published. It named 97 priests across Florida who were credibly accused of sexual abuse.

But given how St. Augustine church officials kept silence about allegations against Fr. Morgan, we can’t help but believe that the AG’s report just scratched the surface of abuse here. And we tremble when we think of how many other child molesting priests, brothers, bishops, seminarians, nuns, monks and lay employees have been accused of abuse and are still being protected by Catholic authorities.

Diocese of St. Augustine Got Caught, But Is This Just Business As Usual For The Church?

At first glance, this blog may seem to be about the Diocese of St. Augustine. But we at Horowitz Law are convinced that the inexcusable patterns and practices outlined here – revealed by church and law enforcement records – are typical of many of the Catholic Dioceses in the United States – both in the past and present.

So if you have no particular knowledge of clergy sex crimes and cover-ups in Florida, we still think it’s worth your while to keep reading.  In fact, there’s so much awfulness in just one recent news report about the Diocese of St. Augustine hierarchy that it can’t be covered in just one blog post. So this is the first of two blogs on the subject

For starters, please read this short timeline.  Then tell us, if you can, how St. Augustine Bishop Felipe Estevez can sleep at night.

Fr. William Malone abused several girls in the 1980s.

In 1991, parents told church bosses that he hurt their 11 year old daughter.

In 1992, Malone impregnated a “young parishioner.”

That same year he was quietly moved out of state.

By 1993, his supervisors agreed to pay child support.

A decade later, the same abuse victim reported again, in person, to anew bishop.

By then, the diocese had a ‘review board’ tasked with investigating such reports.

But Bishop Victor Galeone and his top aides refused to tell the board.

 

In 2018, a victim reported, for the third time, that Fr. Malone repeatedly abused her.

This time, finally, the review board began to investigate.

But the Bishop and his staff and his board waited FIVE MONTHS to tell police.

And in 2019, finally, Bishop Estevez told his flock about Fr. Malone’s crimes.

Not surprisingly, then a “deluge” of others came forward disclosing abuse by Fr. Malone.

https://www.news4jax.com/i-team/2021/02/04/former-jacksonville-bishops-failed-to-report-sexual-abuse-allegations-records-show/

How can these decades of irresponsible inaction be excused? And who knows how many other girls Fr. Malone assaulted between 1991 and 2013, when he died? How many of those young victims might have been spared debilitating pain had any of dozens of top church staff simply called 911?

The cover up, in fact, started right away. When the 1991 abuse report was made, church officials deemed it as “conjecture” and “not credible” because parents, not the victimized youngster, met with diocesan staff. (Their daughter didn’t want to talk with diocese officials.)

And another Malone victim reported her abuse in — “but was told she needed to meet with a diocese attorney and staff BY HERSELF to discuss the allegations.”

Could they make things any harder on victims?

Remember, this information comes entirely from written diocesan records and a law enforcement agency about just one of the thirteen proven, admitted and credibly accused Diocese of St. Augustine child molesting clerics the diocese finally posted because of pressure from parishioners and prosecutors.

http://bishop-accountability.org/diocesan_lists/St_Augustine/2020_11_06_St_Augustine_Credibly_Accused.pdf

For more information on these predators, see BishopAccountability.org

And for more on the continuing cover ups in St. Augustine, read our next blog.

Fr. David McCreanor – Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Father David McCreanor

Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee

Fr. David McCreanor Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1975

Removed: 1997

Assignment History:

  • Christ the King Parish (Jacksonville, FL)
  • St. Vincent de Paul Seminary (Boynton Beach, FL)
  • 1975-1976: St. Mary (Ft. Walton Beach, FL)
  • 1976-1977: St. John (Pensacola, FL)
  • 1977-1979: Co-Cathedral of St. Thomas More (Tallahassee, FL)
  • 1979-1997: Good Shepherd (Tallahassee, FL)
  • 1979-1997: St. Louis (Tallahassee, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations Against Father David McCreanor:

Fr. David McCreanor is from Ireland and he was ordained for the Diocese of St. Augustine in 1975. 

In 1997, McCreanor was accused by three sisters of seducing them in the 1980s when they were teenagers. The sisters claimed they came forward to his current diocese at least a year prior to the time they went public. 

According to media reports, the women allege that McCreanor had sex with two of the sisters when they separately sought counseling decades ago. The third sister said she was propositioned by McCreanor when she sought counseling a few years after her sisters.

McCreanor was not removed from his parish until the news was public. According to the diocese, at least five more women have come forward to claim that he had made sexual advances towards them. However, McCreanor denied all allegations, and no charges were filed. 

In 2020, McCreanor was included on a list of priests in the Diocese of St. Augustine who was named as being “credibly accused” of child sex abuse. The abuse is said to have occurred between 1973-1975. He is also named on the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee’s 2020 list of priests that have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor or minors. 

As of 2019, McCreanor lived in north Florida. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee in Florida.  If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. William J. Weinheimer – Diocese of St. Augustine

Father William J. Weinheimer

Diocese of St. Augustine

Fr. William J. Weinheimer Horowitz Law
Ordained: 1946

Dead: 1986

Assignment History:

  • St. Mary’s Academy (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Bishop Kenny High School (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Good Shepherd Catholic Church (Orlando, FL)
  • Blessed Trinity Catholic Church (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • St. Raphael’s Catholic Church (St. Petersburg, FL)
  • Prince of Peace Catholic Church (Sun City Center, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father William J. Weinheimer:

Fr. William J. Weinheimer was named in a civil suit that was filed in 2008. A man alleged that Weinheimer sexually abused him as a boy in 1954. 

According to media reports, the plaintiff had inappropriate “love” letters that Weinheimer wrote to him at the time, beginning when the victim was 9 years old. The petition claimed the diocese knew of other allegations against Weinheimer. 

The diocese states that Weinheimer served in Jacksonville, Florida for about two years before moving onto Orlando and then the Tampa area.

In 2020, Weinheimer was included on a list of priests in the Diocese of St. Augustine who was named as being “credibly accused” of child sex abuse. 

Weinheimer died in 1986.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. James Flannan Walsh – Diocese of St. Augustine

Father James Flannan Walsh

Diocese of St. Augustine

Fr. James Flannan Walsh Horowitz Law
Ordained: 1965

Dead: 2013

Assignment History:

  • Holy Faith Parish (Gainesville, FL)
  • Queen of Peace Parish (Gainesville, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father James Flannan Walsh:

Fr. James Flannan Walsh is originally from Ireland and was ordained in 1965. Walsh arrived in the Diocese of St. Augustine a few months after his ordination.

In 2020, Walsh was included on a list of priests in the Diocese of St. Augustine who was named as being “credibly accused” of child sex abuse. Information about the age/gender of his alleged victim/victims, the nature of the alleged sexual abuse, or Walsh’s assignments at the time of the alleged abuse is unknown. It is only noted that the abuse took place from 1965-1966.

Walsh died in Florida in 2013.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Michael E. Morse – Diocese of St. Augustine

Father Michael E. Morse

Diocese of St. Augustine

 

Ordained: 1984

Assignment History:

  • Unknown

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Michael E. Morse:

In 2020, Fr. Michael Morse was included on a list of priests in the Diocese of St. Augustine who was named as being “credibly accused” of child sex abuse. Very little is known of Morse’s activities within the church as the Diocese of St. Augustine has not released any information about Morse’s assignment history. In addition, information about the age/gender of his alleged victim/victims, the nature of the alleged sexual abuse, or Morse’s assignments at the time of the alleged abuse is unknown.

It is only noted that the abuse took place from 1989-1991. Morse’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. David T. Morgan – Diocese of St. Augustine

Father David T. Morgan

Diocese of St. Augustine

Fr. David T. Morgan Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1976

Assignment History:

  • Bishop Kenny High School (Jacksonville, FL)
  • Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine (St. Augustine, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father David T. Morgan:

Fr. David T. Morgan was ordained in 1976. The diocese announced to parishioners in December of 2020 that Morgan was being investigated for multiple allegations. 

According to media reports, Morgan had gone on a six-month retreat/sabbatical in the Summer of 2018 and it appears that he didn’t return. Back in September of 2020, someone reported to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that Morgan had a sexual relationship with a Bishop Kenny High School student in 1977. The student was 17 or 18 years old and the relationship went on for 2-3 months. Morgan was a religion teacher at the school. There were no criminal charges due to the statute of limitation restrictions.

Media reports state that Morgan is retired, is not assigned anywhere, and cannot fill in as a priest/celebrate mass in public. However, the year he retired is unknown. In addition, Morgan’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Jose Mena – Diocese of St. Augustine

Father Jose Mena

Diocese of St. Augustine

 

Ordained: 1961

Assignment History:

  • Incarnation Catholic Church (Sarasota, FL)
  • Epiphany (Port Orange, FL)
  • St. Paul (Daytona Beach, FL)
  • Resurrection Church of Christ (Winter Garden, FL)
  • Blessed Sacrament (Clermont, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Jose Mena:

Fr. Jose Mena was ordained a priest in 1961. In 2005, Mena was accused in a lawsuit of abusing a 10-year-old boy many times during the school year at Incarnation Catholic School in Sarasota, Florida. The boy was a former altar boy in the 5th grade and the abuse occurred in 1965-1966. 

The lawsuit was settled by the Diocese of St. Augustine for $150K. Mena allegedly left Jacksonville for his native Spain shortly after the 2005 lawsuit was settled. In 2008, two new lawsuits alleged abuse in the 1960s and 1970s in the Diocese of Orlando. According to media reports, Mena was accused of sodomizing a boy repeatedly in the mid-1970s near Winter Garden, Florida. In 2009, there was another suit filed; The plaintiff had already settled with the diocese prior to the complaint. According to media reports, Mena left active ministry in 2002, however, he was not disciplined for any of his actions.

As of 2005, Mena was last known to be retired and living in Jacksonville, Florida, and then possibly moved to Spain.

Mena’s current whereabouts are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. Thomas V. McNamara – Diocese of St. Augustine

Father Thomas V. McNamara

Diocese of St. Augustine

 

Ordained: Unknown

Removed: 1993

Dead: 1997

Assignment History:

  • Christ the King (Jacksonville, FL)
  • St. Patrick’s (Jacksonville, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father Thomas V. McNamara:

Fr. Thomas V. McNamara is originally from Ireland and he was a visiting priest in several Florida parishes between 1966-1968.

In 2004, McNamara was accused of inappropriate contact with three minors in the late 1960s. He was a visiting priest from Ireland assigned to Christ the King and St. Patrick’s parishes in Jacksonville, Florida. Information about the age/gender of his alleged victims and the nature of the alleged sexual abuse is unknown.

McNamara returned to Ireland and an Irish Bishop confirmed in 2004 that McNamara continued to abuse boys for many years after his return to Ireland. There were similar assaults on “a number of victims,” all of them teenage boys, in Ireland during the 1970s and 1980s. However, the Bishop denied knowledge of abuse in the U.S. 

Before McNamara was removed from active ministry, he served in a total of six parishes throughout two decades in the Diocese of Killaloe. According to a 2014 report on the Diocese of Killaloe, there were 26 complaints against McNamara there. 

In 2020, McNamara was included on a list of priests in the Diocese of St. Augustine who was named as being “credibly accused” of child sex abuse.

McNamara was removed/retired in 1993 and he died in 1997.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.

Fr. David McCreanor – Diocese of St. Augustine

Father David McCreanor

Diocese of St. Augustine

Fr. David McCreanor Horowitz Law

Ordained: 1975

Assignment History:

  • Christ the King Parish (Jacksonville, FL)
  • St. Vincent de Paul Seminary (Boynton Beach, FL)
  • St. Mary’s Parish (Fort Walton Beach, FL)
  • St. Louis Roman Catholic Church (Tallahassee, FL)

Summary of Sexual Abuse Allegations against Father David McCreanor:

Fr. David McCreanor is from Ireland and he was ordained for the Diocese of St. Augustine in 1975. 

In 1997, McCreanor was accused by three sisters of seducing them in the 1980s when they were teenagers. The sisters claimed they came forward to his current diocese at least a year prior to the time they went public. 

According to media reports, the women allege that McCreanor had sex with two of the sisters when they separately sought counseling decades ago. The third sister said she was propositioned by McCreanor when she sought counseling a few years after her sisters.

McCreanor was not removed from his parish until the news was public. According to the diocese, at least five more women have come forward to claim that he had made sexual advances towards them. However, McCreanor denied all allegations, and no charges were filed. 

In 2020, McCreanor was included on a list of priests in the Diocese of St. Augustine who was named as being “credibly accused” of child sex abuse. The abuse is said to have occurred between 1973-1975.

As of 2019, McCreanor lived in north Florida. His current whereabouts are unknown.

Horowitz Law is a law firm representing victims and survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests and other clergy in the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida. If you need a lawyer because you were sexually abused by a priest in Florida, contact our office today. Our lawyers have decades of experience representing survivors of clergy sexual abuse in Florida and nationwide. We can help. 

Contact us at (888) 283-9922 or adam@adamhorowitzlaw.com to discuss your options today.