Owensboro priest temporarily suspended after sexual abuse allegations
OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - A well-known western Kentucky priest has been temporarily suspended.
The Diocese of Owensboro suspended Father Joseph Edward Bradley after a report of sexual abuse of a minor.
It was reported on Tuesday that Fr. Bradley sexually abused an individual while he was the principal at Owensboro Catholic High School in the 1980s. The incident was immediately reported to Commonwealth Attorney Bruce Kuegal’s Office and the Diocesan Review Board.
Kuegal told us they were contacted by the Diocese on the matter and after it was reviewed, it was sent to the criminal investigations unit at the Owensboro Police Department.
After consulting with the review board, Bishop William Medley followed their recommendation to temporarily suspend Fr. Bradley.
“Our policies require that any priest accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor be suspended to assure the safety of children and youth,” said Bishop Medley. “Our commitment is to take seriously any allegation brought to us while at the same time affording Fr. Bradley a presumption of innocence until more information is available.”
The Diocese of Owensboro has a policy it follows whenever an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is received:
- The diocese submits a report to civil authorities, if not already contacted, and fully cooperates with civil authorities as the investigation proceeds.
- The person who has been accused if placed on an administrative leave of absence.
- The diocese conducts an internal investigation of the accusation
This was a bit of a shock for several people who knew Fr. Bradley. He has been apart of the Owensboro Catholic community for decades.
Fr. Bradley was ordained a priest of the diocese in 1975, became a staff member at Owensboro Catholic High School in 1976, where he served as principal from 1980 through 1985. He was the pastor of five parishes in the Diocese of Owensboro, was the vocations director for four years, and retired from public ministry in 2011 before he began his role as volunteer chaplain at Owensboro Catholic High School.
We received a statement from President of Owensboro Catholic Schools, Tom Lilley, shortly after the news broke. He said, “We are heartbroken. We are asking the whole faith community to pray for all involved.”
Fr. Bradley also served as the team chaplain for the University of Kentucky and University of Louisville men’s basketball teams while Rick Pitino was the head coach of the two schools.
If you want to report suspected abuse, you can call the Kentucky Child Protection Hot Line at 1-877-597-2331 or contact your local commonwealth attorney.
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