Lex Pastor on Leave

By John McGary
July 12, 2009

The pastor of Lexington’s Mary Queen of the Holy Rosary Church has been put on administrative leave due to allegations of sexual misconduct involving teenage boys in the mid 1980’s, when Joseph N. Muench was associate pastor of Good Shepherd Church in Frankfort.

Lexington Diocese spokesman Tom Shaughnessy said an internal review board decided Thursday that allegations possessed a “semblance of truth, and that Muench was told Friday. Members of his church were told today in morning and afternoon masses by Lexington Bishop Ronald W. Gainer.

"From the churches point of view, protecting young people is paramount, so we try to move very quickly when we receive allegations like this,” Shaughnessy told ABC 36 News. “During this time, he will not be allowed to present himself as a Catholic priest, he will be able to perform absolutely no public ministry, and he won’t be able to present himself in clerical garb.”

Muench also won’t be allowed to live in the rectory next to Mary Queen, Shaughnessy said.

Several people who attended the 5:30 mass declined comment, but one man said before driving off, “We’ll be praying for him and his (alleged) victims.”


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.