Assignment Record– Rev. Richard M. Powers

Summary of Case: Richard Powers was ordained for the Owensboro diocese in 1959 and went on to assist in and pastor parishes throughout the diocese. He left Kentucky in 1982 to serve as a military chaplain in Alaska, Virginia, New York, Washington DC, and Florida. He returned to Owensboro and parish work in 1989. Powers also served in the diocese as a Consultor and member of the Priests' Council and Priests' Personnel Committee. In 1995 a woman reported to the diocese that she had been sexually abused as a girl between 1962-1970 by Powers and two other priests. Powers denied the allegations; Bishop McRaith arranged payment for three psychiatric hospitalizations for the woman. In 1999 she received a confidential settlement from the diocese. She died by suicide in May 2003. The woman's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the diocese and returned the settlement in November 2003. As of July 2006 the lawsuit was ongoing; a diocesan attorney stated that an investigation determined that the allegations were "frivolous." Powers retired in 2007. In November 2015 he remains active in the diocese.


Born: October 6, 1932
Ordained: 1959


Start Stop Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes


Owensboro bishop was Francis Ridgley Cotton (1937-1960), followed by Henry Joseph Soenneker (1961-1982).

1961 St. Stephen's Cathedral Owensboro KY 6/6, 4/5 The Cathedral had a school with 731-601 students.
1959 1961 Our Lady of Mercy Hospital; Brescia College; St. Francis Academy Owensboro KY   These were chapels of St. Stephen's Cathedral.
1961 1962 St. Francis de Sales Paducah KY 3/3 St. Francis' had a school with 58 students.
1961 1962 St. Mary's Academy Paducah KY   This was a chapel of St. Francis de Sales.
1961 1962 St. Pius X Paducah KY   This was a mission of St. Francis de Sales.
1961 1962 Eddyville Penitentiary Eddyville KY   This was a station of St. Francis de Sales.
1962 1966 Holy Name of Jesus Henderson KY

2/2, 2/3, 3/3

Administrator 1965-1966

Holy Name of Jesus had a grade school with 471-555 students, and a high school with 153-176 students.
1962 1964 St. Francis   KY    
1966 1967 SS Joseph and Paul


Powers was accused, along Revs. Delma Clemons and Robert Willett, of sexually abusing a girl between 1962-1970. The alleged victim was a student and parishioner of SS Joseph and Paul.

KY 2/3 SS Joseph and Paul had a school with 426 students.
1966 1967 St. Joseph Monastery Owensboro KY   This was a monastery for nuns and a chapel of SS Joseph and Paul parish.
1967 1971 St. Pius X Calvert City KY 1/1 St. Pius had a school with 65 students until 1968.
1971 1973 St. Joseph Bowling Green KY   St. Joseph's had a school with 132-123 students.
1973 1974 St. Sebastian Calhoun KY 1/1  
1973 1974 St Charles Livermore KY   This was a mission of St. Sebastian in Calhoun.
1974 1976 St. Peter Stanley KY 1/1 St. Peter's had a school with 136-140 students.
1974 1976 St. Augustine Reed KY   This was a mission of St. Peter's in Stanley.


Soenneker was succeeded as Owensboro bishop by John Jeremiah McRaith (1982-2009).

1982 Precious Blood Owensboro KY 1/1 Precious Blood had a school with 169-267 students.
1982 1984 U.S. Military Kodiak AK chaplain  
1984 1985 U.S. Military Virginia Beach VA chaplain  
1985 1987 U.S. Military New York NY chaplain NSA-Holy Loch, FPO
1987 1988 U.S. Military Washington DC chaplain  
1988 1989 U.S. Military Miami FL chaplain  
1989 1996 The Immaculate Owensboro KY 1/2, 1/1 Per a November 2003 wrongful death lawsuit filed by her family, Powers' accuser came forward to the diocese in 1995. Powers denied the allegations. After she came forward, Bishop McRaith arranged payment for three in-patient psychiatric hospitalizations for the woman.
1996 2003 St. Mary of the Woods Whitesville KY 1/2

St. Mary's had a school with 260-206 students.

Powers' accuser received a settlement in 1999. She died by suicide in May 2003. Her family returned the settlement in November of that year when they filed the wrongful death lawsuit.

A diocesan attorney stated in 2006 that an investigation determined the allegations to be "frivolous. The attorney and chancellor both said that anything that may have happened between the accuser and priests was when she was age 18. Attorneys for the woman's estate claimed she was younger.

2003 2007 St. Mary Magdalene Owensboro KY   This parish isn't listed in the Owensboro pages of the Directories.
2005 2007 St. Elizabeth Curdsville KY 1/1 Administrator  
  2007 Diocesan Consultors Owensboro KY    
  2007 Priests' Council Owensboro KY    
  2007 Priest Personnel Committee Owensboro KY    
2007 2009 Retired Owensboro KY    


William Francis Medley replaced McRaith as bishop (2009-).

2010 St. Elizabeth Curdsville KY 1/1 Retired  
2009 2010 St. Alphonsus Owensboro KY   This parish isn't listed in the Owensboro pages of the Directories.
2010 2015 Retired Owensboro KY   Powers remains active in the diocese.


Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons 1960-2014)

Suit Links Suicide, Priest Abuse, Owensboro Diocese Had Paid Woman, Family Says, By Gregory Hall, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), November 7, 2003
Victims' Group Director Wants 2 Priests Suspended, By Gregory A. Hall, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), November 8, 2003
Lawsuit Alleging Priest Abuse Ongoing: Case 'Moving at a Very Slow Pace', By Owen Covington, Messenger-Inquirer (Owensboro, Kentucky), July 19, 2006

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Powers' career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on November 19, 2015.