Havey Defrocked by Papal Order

By Dave Bakke
Springfield State Journal-Register
April 29, 2006

Joseph Havey, a former Springfield priest accused of sexual abuse of minors in the 1970s and early '80s, has been removed from the clergy by Pope Benedict XVI.

According to the papal decree, Havey, who has not been an active priest for more than 20 years, cannot present himself as a priest or perform any clerical duties.

Diocese spokeswoman Kathie Sass said Friday that, while such a decree is rare, it has happened in the Springfield diocese previously.

"Maybe the person had left the ministry," Sass said. "There can be a number of reasons. This one is unusual in that, at the request of Bishop (George) Lucas, it comes directly from the pope."

Havey, 61, was ordained in 1971. He was assigned to St. Agnes Church in Springfield from 1978 to 1981, when victims charge the abuse occurred.

Previously, Havey had been at Ss. Peter and Paul Church in Springfield and churches in Effingham, Granite City and Jerseyville.

Lawsuits were filed in the 1990s that accused Havey of sexual abuse while at St. Agnes. The victims were among 28 people who split a $3 million settlement with the diocese in 2004.

Sass said the diocese notified Havey's attorneys of his official removal from the clergy by the pope. Havey had until April 16 to file a response to the papal decree. No response was received.

Sass said the diocese does not know where Havey lives now or what his occupation is.

Dave Bakke can be reached at 788-1541 or


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