Former Laurel Priest Named in List of Clergy Accused of Sex Abuse
By Jayson Burnett
January 24, 2019
|Morales pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a child in Jones County in 2016. (Source: Jones County Jail)|
The Catholic Diocese of Biloxi released a list Thursday of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct against children and teenagers.
The list includes the names of three priests with allegations dating back to 1989. One of the names on the list was Jose Vazquez Morales.
In 2016, Morales pleaded guilty to sexually abusing a child in Jones County in 2015 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. He was originally charged with two counts of sexual battery of a minor. The judge who sentenced Morales also ordered he be deported to Mexico upon his release.
Vazquez worked as a pastor at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Wiggins. He also served as an associate pastor in Laurel, Hattiesburg and Lucedale from 2009 to 2015, which is when the Diocese of Biloxi first became aware of the allegations against him.
The other two names on the list released Thursday are Jerome J. Axton and Vincent the Quang Nguyen. According to the diocese, Axton was accused of sexual misconduct on a teenage girl in 1989 and was prohibited from ministering in 1992. Nguyen was accused of misconduct with female minors and adolescents in 1989 and was prohibited from ministering the same year.
The list did not include allegations prior to the founding of the Diocese of Biloxi. The list also did not include abuse alleged to have happened outside the Diocese by extern clergy who served there.