Duck or Dodge? Number of priests left off Archdiocese’s public abuser list in 2018

Lagniappe [Mobile AL]

October 12, 2023

By Dale Liesch

The names of as many as 11 alleged abusers were left off the list the Archdiocese of Mobile made public in 2018, and in at least two cases, the names of a priest and cleric credibly accused of sexual abuse were listed, but years listed for their final known abuses were long before later documented accusations, a Lagniappe investigation has revealed.

Lagniappe cross-referenced the names of abusers on a list created by the Archdiocese about six years ago with names from the Bishop Accountability website and found a number of priests and other Catholic officials who had worked in Mobile and had been named by other dioceses did not make the Mobile list.

The entry belonging to Brother Nicholas “Vic” Bendillo was accompanied by an inaccurate timeline of abuse allegations. The 2018 list told Mobile parishioners and others that Bendillo’s abuse at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School began in 1963 and stopped in 1989, the same year the Rev. Bry Shields became president of the school. However, abuse of students at the hands of Bendillo continued into the 1990s, ending in 1998 when he was moved to Louisiana. He was actually sentenced to five years in prison for abuses that took place in the early-to-mid ‘90s.

Likewise, Fr. Alex Sherlock, who had abuse victims at McGill and who served in other Mobile-area parishes, was listed as having credible abuses between 1966 and 1982. However, he was publicly removed from serving at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Montgomery in 2003 by then-Archbishop Oscar Lipscomb who told a stunned congregation Sherlock had been moved to their parish after Lipscomb sent him for psychological treatment in the ‘90s for prior abuses that surfaced. Lipscomb explained that another credible allegation that took place following that treatment had come to light and removed him from the parish.

Fr. Art Schrenger, who also had abuse victims at McGill, was removed from the priesthood in 2003 as well and also listed as having abuses that began in the 1960s and ended in 1982. Lagniappe has spoken with one Schrenger victim, who asked to remain anonymous, who claims his abuses took place in the mid-to-late ‘80s and that the archdiocese has been made aware.

In all three cases, the men in question would have had to have gone 10 to 20 years without committing another abuse before they were removed for the list to have been accurate.

An email to Archdiocese spokesman Rob Herbst seeking comment on the discrepancies was not returned by press time.

An inaccurate list is not only an issue for the Archdiocese of Mobile, but is a nationwide problem. David Clohessy, former executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), told Lagniappe he has yet to see a list of Catholic abusers anywhere in the entire country that is completely accurate.

“They split hairs or they duck and dodge,” Clohessy said.

While it remains unclear what the Archdiocese’s rationale was for leaving almost a dozen names off the list and shortening the term of abuse of others on it, it appears some of the abuse happened decades ago.

The Rev. Henry Clark was a priest in the Syracuse diocese in New York state, but worked at what is now known as the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception from 1936 to 1939, according to the website Clark died in 1957. His name appears on a Santa Fe, New Mexico, diocese list of abusers from 2017.

Some of the people whose names did not appear in the 2018 list were members of religious orders not directly controlled by the Archdiocese.

For instance, the Rev. Paul Pinard was an Edmondnite, who worked at a parish in Selma in 1960 and 1961. The abuse allegations for Pinard came out of Quebec in the 1980s, according to the bishop accountability website. After Pinard retired, he spent a year at an Edmondnite home in Selma before being moved to Vermont.

The Rev. Paul Plouffe, another Edmondnite, spent time in Selma at a parish church and as chaplain of a hospital there from 1952 to 1954. Plouffe was accused of abuse in Vermont in 1946 and died in 2004, according to

“It doesn’t matter if a priest is on some other list from somewhere else, every abusive priest, nun, monk or brother, seminarian or bishop who was in the Archdiocese should be on the list,” Clohessy said. “If you’re genuinely trying to help the wounded, there’s no reason to split hairs or parse words. There’s no reason not to put out the best list possible.”

Still other accused pastors were part of the Mobile diocese before it split from various locations, like Birmingham and the Florida Panhandle.

Take, for example, the Rev. Joseph Hill, who listed as having worked at a parish in Lanett, Alabama, in 1956. Lanett is now part of the Birmingham diocese, but would’ve been part of the Mobile-Birmingham diocese at the time. Hill was accused of abusing a 16-year-old girl in Baltimore and made that state’s attorney general’s list of abusers earlier this year, according to information gathered by

The Rev. Laurence Boucher was accused of abuse in Florida in 1960. At the time of the abuse, his parish would’ve been in the Mobile-Birmingham diocese. Boucher was also an Edmondnite. He made a list of Edmondnite abusers in 2021 and a list of abusers within the Pensacola diocese in 2021, as well.

The Rev. Leonard Prusinski was arrested in Florida in 1961 for molestation, according to the bishop accountability website. At the time, he was pastor of St. John Parish in Panama City. In 1961, the church would’ve been part of the Mobile-Birmingham diocese.

The Rev. Arthur Terminello was part of what was then the Mobile-Birmingham diocese and was later part of the Pensacola-Tallahassee diocese. He died in 1962 before the Panhandle was taken out of the diocese in Alabama.

The Rev. Joe Bordenca was accused of molesting a 12-year-old boy in the 1960s, according to The Mobile diocese and Birmingham diocese split in 1969 and Mobile became an Archdiocese in 1980. Bordenca was removed from ministry in 1989 and moved to Fairhope after that, according to A 2003 Mobile Press-Register story mentioned that even though Bordenca was no longer serving as a priest he was listed as a celebrant at weddings on the Gulf Coast.

The Rev. Gary Ketcham was accused before 1989 of molesting two boys in Mobile while he was visiting the city, according to the bishop accountability website. While he’s not listed in Mobile’s abuser list, Ketcham is among the names listed by the Erie, Pennsylvania, diocese.

The Rev. Roger Lott was ordained into what was then known as the Mobile-Birmingham diocese in 1954. He was accused of molesting a Nashville, Tennessee, altar boy in the late 1950s, according to He is on both the Nashville diocese list and the Birmingham diocese list.

The Rev. Johnny Savoie’s name was not on the 2018 list, despite allegations involving a relationship with a teenager surfacing in a 2015 lawsuit. The Archdiocese reportedly cleared Savoie of any wrongdoing. The Baldwin County District Attorney’s Office also investigated the relationship claim, but since the state’s age of consent is 16, the office wouldn’t have been able to prosecute even if the allegation was true, 2015 media reports confirm. Savoie also denied the allegations to his parish.

Inaccurate public Catholic abuser lists are harmful to the victims, Clohessy said, because naming the religious accused of this wrongdoing helps make those wronged feel “validated.” An accurate list also helps build trust with parishioners, he said.

“If you want to restore faith in yourself and the institution, the easiest way to do that is to be honest,” Clohessy said. “Bishops should want to provide full lists because that’s what they promised to do.”