Owensboro Diocese Suspends Western Ky. Priest Over Sexual Allegation
By Lisa Autry
June 14, 2016
|The coat of arms of the Diocese of Owensboro|
The Catholic Diocese of Owensboro has suspended the pastor of a Union County church. The priest is accused of sexual misconduct decades ago.
The Reverend Freddie Byrd has been suspended as pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church in Morganfield. A complaint issued this month accuses Byrd of inappropriate sexual contact with a 17-year-old juvenile in 1983. According to a statement from the diocese, Byrd was not a priest at the time of the alleged sexual abuse.
The diocese says it is conducting its own investigation and has notified law enforcement. The Messenger-Inquirer reports Byrd’s name was mentioned in a suicide letter left by an Owensboro man who shot himself outside of Blessed Mother Catholic Church in 2008.
The church was led by Byrd at the time of the death. The letter discussed sexual abuse, but never accused the pastor of misconduct.
An investigation by the Owensboro Police Department cleared Byrd of any wrongdoing.