Former Manhattan priest one of 14 in diocese who church says sexually abused children

The Mercury

March 29, 2019

By Megan Moser

Three men have alleged that the Catholic priest who was superintendent of Seven Dolors Grade School and Luckey High School in the 1950s and 1960s sexually abused them while they were students there.

In an anonymous account, the three men wrote that Monsignor William Merchant, who died in 1975, molested and sexually assaulted them and other boys at the school.

The Catholic Diocese of Salina on Friday released a list of 14 clergy members within the diocese against whom there have been substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of a minor. The report listed Merchant and two other priests (more information below) who had served in Manhattan since the 1950s, and several more who served at other area churches.

The account by the men Merchant abused while they were students and altar boys was included with the report.

“Merchant was a pedophile and sexual predator who ruthlessly exploited grade school and high school children over an extended period of time,” they wrote. “In our collective opinion, Msgr. Merchant’s avocation was masquerading as a Catholic priest while pursuing his true vocation as an aggressive sexual predator. His position as the superintendent of schools offered him a replenishable supply of victims to satisfy his perversity.”

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