Bishop Suspends Priest Accused of Sex Abuse
Paul St. Charles Was Cyo Leader

By Bill Dries
Commercial Appeal [Memphis TN]
November 30, 2004

A retired Catholic priest who was a prominent Catholic Youth Organization leader in Memphis during the 1970s was suspended Monday from his priestly ministry by Catholic Bishop J. Terry Steib because of allegations of child sexual abuse.

Steib took the action against Rev. Paul W. St. Charles after a diocesan review board in a letter to Steib concluded "it finds it more likely than not that (St. Charles) engaged in sexual misconduct involving a minor." The review board acted on a complaint made to church officials in 2002. It involved allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to the late 1970s, according to the board.

St. Charles is not charged with a crime nor is he named in any civil suit.

The suspension bans him from saying mass, wearing clerical garments or presenting himself as a priest. Retired priests often say mass and administer sacraments.

St. Charles was a Catholic Youth Organization leader at Our Lady of Sorrows Church and pastor at Church of the Ascension before retiring in 1986. The CYOs were parish social groups for teenagers.

Two other priests as well as the Memphis diocese are named in civil suits accusing the priests of sexually abusing children and the diocese of covering up the abuse.

Rev. Juan Carlos Duran was living at St. Peter's Church and working at Church of the Ascension in 2000 when a 14- year old boy accused Duran of abusing him. He is no longer a priest and is living in Bolivia, according to church officials. The teenager, who is now an adult, filed suit against Duran and the diocese this year.

Rev. Richard Mickey, who was pastor at Ascension as well as St. Mary Catholic Church in Jackson, Tenn., has been on leave pending the outcome of a church investigation into allegations he abused two teenage twin brothers while a teacher at Memphis's Bishop Byrne High School in 1980. Blain and Blair Chambers filed a civil suit this summer accusing Mickey.


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