Sex Abuse Complaint Sparks Knoxville Diocese Investigation of Retired Priest

April 14, 2010

A complaint of sexual abuse spanning from 1975 to 1980 by a now-retired priest has prompted the Diocese of Knoxville to launch an investigation and to suspend that man from his role as a retired priest.

A 44-year-old man, Warren Tucker, came forward with allegations of sexual abuse over a five-year period against a retired priest of the Diocese of Knoxville in East Tennessee.

At the time of the alleged abuses, that priest would have been under the Diocese of Nashville.

The Knoxville Diocese's chancellor, Deacon Sean Smith, said the first course of action under the church's sexual misconduct policy was to notify law enforcement officials.

Next, he notified Bishop Richard Stika and Nashville Bishop David R. Choby.

Stika will issue a decree beginning a diocesan investigation.

For now, the retired priest has been suspended from "priestly faculties," meaning he is not allowed to present himself as a priest, to wear priestly garb, or to serve as a priest in any capacity.

In a written statement, Smith said, "Our No. 1 goal and objective is first to assist the victim in any way we can and to ensure that all the children in our care are protected."


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