Savannah pastor mistaken for accused child molester, priest with same name

By Kelly Antonacci
January 13, 2019

[with video]

A Catholic priest says hundreds across Savannah believe he's accused of sexually abusing children. Now Pastor Joseph Smith (Father Joe) -- who serves at Saint Joseph's Hospital -- wants to set the record straight.

Pastor Joseph Smith was one of 16 clergymen named by the Bishop as someone with credible accusations against them. According to a release from November, the clergymen are accused of sexually abusing children.

The named Pastor Smith served in Savannah from 1924 until his death in 1952. It's not the same Pastor Smith serving now.

"I was ready to retire. I was ready to hang it up," said Father Joe in Savannah. "I'd rather be remembered for what I have done and not for what I haven't." 

That's why people gathered Sunday to remember Father Joe's two decades of service and to take a picture, so you know his face is not a criminal one. 

"In 23 years of service to the church, I never thought about anything like that. I don't even have the words for that. I've helped more people than I've hurt," he said.



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