Retired Priest of Diocese of St. Augustine under Investigation
By Christy Turner
Action News Jax/CBS 47, Fox 30
December 29, 2020
A retired priest with ties to a historic church in the heart of downtown St. Augustine is under investigation for allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.
The Diocese of St. Augustine confirmed the investigation into Father David Terrence Morgan, but wouldn’t share additional information to protect the integrity of the case.
Father Morgan was with the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine as recently as 2018 before he retired.
In a church newsletter dated Dec. 27, 2020, the diocese wrote “the allegations have a semblance of truth based on an initial review, but guilt has not been determined.”
Kathleen Bagg, spokeswoman for the diocese, said they will report the findings once the canonical investigation has been completed.
The note also said the diocese shared the information with the appropriate law enforcement agency.
Action News Jax obtained a report from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office that said the alleged sexual relationship between the victim and priest took place in 1977.
JSO said it began the investigation into Father Morgan in September 2020.
The report said the person who reported the alleged sexual relationship to police was contacted by the victim in August 2020.
The report said Father Morgan was 27 years old at the time of the alleged incident. Although, the report isn’t clear of the victim’s exact age.
The victim told police the sexual relationship with the police lasted “two to three months,” but couldn’t remember all the details “due it being so long ago.”
No criminal charges could be pursued against Father Morgan in this case because the State Attorney’s Office said the statute of limitations passed, according to the report.
The police report said investigators received a letter from Alexander Law Firm representing David concerning allegations made against him and said he invoked his Constitutional Rights.
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Action News Jax reached out to the law firm for comment and called Father Morgan’s cell phone listed in the police report, but we’re waiting to hear back.
The St. Augustine Police Department said it also investigated Father Morgan in 2019 for a case involving a minor.
The police department said it planned to release more information tomorrow about the outcome of its investigation.
The diocese said if you or someone you know was harmed by Father Morgan or anyone representing the Catholic Church, call law enforcement or the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-800-962-2873. You can also contact the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Tina Nugent, by calling (904) 208-6979 or email email@example.com.