Tenn. Diocese Suspends Priest after Abuse Claim

The Daily Reflector
April 14, 2010

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- The Knoxville Diocese suspended a retired Roman Catholic priest and contacted police after a 44-year-old man told church officials on Wednesday that he was sexually abused as a boy more than 30 years ago.

Deacon Sean Smith, chancellor for the diocese, said in a news release that Bishop Richard F. Stika suspended the priest, which means he can't present himself as a priest, wear clerical garb or to serve as a priest in any capacity."

The diocese didn't name the priest and said only that he lived in East Tennessee.

Detective Jennifer Trantham of the sheriff's office in Marion, N.C., identified him as the Rev. William Casey of Greene County, Tenn. She said he is being investigated for sexually abusing a boy during a trip to North Carolina and the case likely will be presented to the grand jury for possible indictment.

The allegations were made by Warren Tucker of Jeffersonville, Ind. Tucker said he was abused for five years, beginning in 1975 when he was a fifth-grader at St. Dominic's church in Kingsport.

The Associated Press has a policy not to identify victims of sex abuse, but Tucker agreed for his name and hometown to be used.

"I was abused in every manner possible," Tucker said during a phone interview. "I wanted to come forward because while I never wanted to be one of those adults who blamed their problems in life on their childhood, this kept coming back and eating at me and causing me problems."

Tucker said he was molested until he was about 15 years old. He claimed that Casey, while a priest at St. Dominic's, took him on trips, including to Marion, N.C.

Tucker has filed a criminal complaint against Casey there because North Carolina doesn't have a statute of limitations when a felony is involved but Tennessee does.

Bishop David R. Choby of Nashville also was alerted to the investigation because the allegations date to before the creation of the Knoxville diocese, Smith said.

"I've always felt guilty about not helping other children possibly abused by him (my abuser) because of my silence," Tucker said. "I'm trying to heal and trying to get a few years of my life to be happy and productive."


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