Diocese: Lawsuits Are 'Fiction'
Bishop Denies Allegations

Lexington Herald Leader
June 7, 2002

Bishop J. Kendrick Williams of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Lexington yesterday denied allegations of sexual abuse made against him in two civil suits.

A separate statement released by the diocese yesterday condemned the class-action lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by Catholic priests in both the Lexington and Covington dioceses.

The Lexington diocese was created out of the Covington diocese in 1988.

The diocese's statement calls the $50 million lawsuit, brought by attorney Robert Treadway on behalf of five alleged victims, "an absurd work of fiction" and promises a vigorous defense.

In Williams' statement, his first since May 22, he says, "I have never sexually abused anyone at any time in my life. I do not know why these two men would say these things."

Williams' statements appear in the June 9 edition of Cross Roads, a newspaper mailed to 15,000 Roman Catholic households. Williams, the only bishop the Lexington diocese has ever had, is the publication's founder and publisher.

Two lawsuits against the Archdiocese of Louisville accuse Williams of sex abuse in 1969 and 1981.

In the first lawsuit against Williams, James W. Bennett, 33, of Louisville, alleged that Williams molested him in 1981 at the Church of Our Lady in Louisville, where Williams was a priest. Bennett was a 12-year-old altar boy at the time.

In the second suit, filed by David Hall, 51, of New Haven, Williams is accused of grabbing Hall's genitals and assaulting him in 1969 when Hall was a student at St. Catherine's in New Haven. Williams was a priest there at that time.


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