NASHVILLE (WSMV) - The Diocese of Nashville published a list of 13 former priests on Friday who have previously served in the diocese and have been accused of sexual abuse of a minor.
Of the 13 named, nine of the priests are now dead and two of the priests are in prison. None of the priests are longer actively in the ministry.
The names are those of priests against whom an allegation of abuse was made either while an active priest or following his death. Following the report, an investigation was commenced, after which a review of the facts and information obtained took place. Following this review, a recommendation was made to the bishop at the time and the bishop decided whether or not an individual priest should be dismissed from the priesthood of the Diocese of Nashville if in active ministry.
According to the diocese, the priests were ordained between 1940 and 1973 and served as priests between the 1940s and the 1990s. At the time they were ordained, the Diocese of Nashville covered the state of Tennessee.
Several of the priests had Nashville and middle-Tennessee connections:
- Father Edward James Cleary was an assistant pastor of the Cathedral of the Incarnation in Nashville, assistant pastor of St. Mary's Church in Nashville, and as a professor at Father Ryan High School in Nashville. Cleary died in 1997.
- Father James William Murphy Jr. was assigned to St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Cookeville and was an administrator of St. John Vianney Church in Gallatin. He died in 2016.
- Father James Arthur Rudisill was the assistant pastor of St. Ann Church in Nashville, assistant pastor of Christ the King Church in Nashville, assistant pastor of Holy Name Church in Nashville, Chaplain of Scouting for Middle Tennessee, Chaplain of the Catholic Business Women's League in Nashville, Pastor at St. Rose of Lima Church in Murfreesboro, Pastor at St. Catherine Church in Columbia, Christ the Redeemer Church in Centerville, St. Cecilia Church in Waynesboro. He died in 2008.
- Father Edward Albert Walenga was a pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church in Cookeville, pastor of the St. Michael Mission in Cedar Hill, and pastor of St. John Vianney Church in Gallatin. He died in 1983.
- Msgr. William Floyd Davis was an assistant pastor of Christ the King Church in Nashville, and was a pastor at St. Christopher Church in Dickson. He died in 2011.
- Joseph L. Reilly was ordained in 1956 and dismissed in 1965. He was assigned to the Cathedral of the Incarnation and St. Henry Church in Nashville. He died in 1981.
- Paul Frederick Haas was ordained in 1959 and dismissed in 1977. He was an assistant pastor with the Cathedral of the Incarnation, assistant pastor with St. Ann Church in Nashville and taught at Father Ryan High School. He died in 1979.
- Edward Joseph McKeown was ordained in 1970, dismissed from the priesthood in 1989, and is currently incarcerated. He was an associate pastor of St. Edward Church in Nashville and part-time professor at Father Ryan High School, an associate pastor at Holy Rosary Church, an associate pastor at St. Joseph Church in Madison.
- Ronald W. Dickman was ordained in 1971 and dismissed in 1991. He was an associate pastor at St. Edward Church and full-time professor and later principal at Father Ryan High School. He was also an associate director of vocations at the Nashville Deanery, Diocesan director of vocations, associate pastor of St. Henry Church in Nashville, associate pastor of St. Ignatius of Antioch Church, Catholic Charities of Tennessee, and St. Mary Villa in Nashville.
- Franklin T. Richards was ordained in 1973 and dismissed in 1989. He was an associate pastor of Christ the King Church, associate pastor of St. Henry Church, pastor of St. Patrick Church in Nashville, and associate pastor of Immaculate Conception Church in Clarksville.
For a full list of the accused and their credentials, click here.
The Diocese of Nashville is one of several dioceses across the country that have decided to release the names of priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors in the wake of the Pennsylvania grand jury report last summer that outlined allegations from six dioceses in that state.
After News4 released the information in our newscasts, the Diocese of Knoxville released a statement about the report, stating they are "grateful that the Diocese of Nashville has deciced to release the report" and that they "regret the actions of priests who are listed in it."
Here's their full statement:
Tennessee law requires and the diocese is strongly urging anyone who has reasonably suspected abuse taking place to come forward and report it to the authorities.