Tennessee Priest Allegedly Sexually Abused Child and Offered Him to Others

Patheos blog

July 24, 2019

By David Gee

A Tennessee priest with a previously clean record has now been accused of repeatedly sexually abusing a young boy for years — and offering him up to other clergymen.

The alleged victim, Michael Boyd, is suing the Diocese of Knoxville, saying that longtime priest Xavier Mankel (above) took advantage of him as a child. Boyd’s lawsuit also says he was abused by Bishop Anthony O’Connell, who founded the diocese.

Making matters worse, Boyd claims Mankel offered him up to visiting priests for “inappropriate sexual conduct.”

While the diocese is the only named defendant, the 20-page lawsuit claims the former altar boy was repeatedly abused in the 1990s by longtime Knoxville priest Xavier Mankel and at least twice by Bishop Anthony O’Connell.

O’Connell, who died in 2012, is the best-known figure named in the suit. He became the first bishop of the Knoxville diocese when it was formed in 1988. Ten years later, he became bishop in Palm Beach, Florida. He resigned in 2002 after admitting inappropriate conduct with minors in Missouri decades earlier and before he was in Knoxville.

Naming O’Connell wasn’t as surprising as it could have been, then, but it’s worth noting that the most serious allegations are against someone with a previously clean record on child sex abuse issues.

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