Jso: No Criminal Charges for Retired Priest Following Sexual Abuse Allegations
First Coast News TV
December 30, 2020
Days after the Diocese of St. Augustine confirmed abuse allegations against one of its retired priests, the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office says that it will not be pursuing criminal charges.
According to an incident report from JSO, criminal charges cannot be pursued against Father David Terrence Morgan due to statute of limitation restrictions.
First Coast News reached out to Morgan for comment, but have not yet heard back.
The 2020 report concerns an alleged incident happened in 1977. Morgan, now 71, was 27 years old.
On Sept. 24, 2020, an alleged victim told JSO that they had a sexual relationship with Morgan, who was a priest at the time, that lasted anywhere from two to three months.
The victim, who was 17 or 18 at the time, said they were never forced to have sex with Morgan and that they could not recall all the details of the relationship due to it being so long ago, according to the report.
Assistant State Attorney Brooke Gasson was contacted by investigators who relayed that the statute of limitations had passed and therefore no criminal charges could be pursued against Morgan.
"Based on the statute of limitations having passed, I request this case stay an information report and can be closed at this time," writes Det. J.D. Eddy in the JSO report.
A church bulletin released Sunday by the Diocese of St. Augustine said "the allegations have a semblance of truth based on an initial review, but guilt has not been determined."
Diocese spokesperson Kathleen Bagg said the church's investigative findings were passed on to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome for further investigation. She would not specify how many allegations Morgan is facing or the nature of the allegations, and would not comment while the investigation is ongoing.
Bagg did confirm Morgan served in multiple parishes and counties during his time with the Diocese, which oversees 17 counties in Florida. She also said Morgan is retired, is not assigned anywhere and cannot fill in as a priest/celebrate mass in public.
Anyone with information that may be relevant to the investigation into Morgan should call their local law enforcement or the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-800-962-2873. People may also call the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Tina Nugent, at (904) 208-6979 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Morgan is the 14th local priest that the diocese has publicly confirmed is facing allegations, though the Church has not found Morgan guilty of anything at this time.
The following is the full statement the Diocese of St. Augustine sent to parishioners:
Allegations have been raised against Father David Terrence Morgan, a retired priest of the Diocese of St. Augustine. The allegations have a semblance of truth based on an initial review, but guilt has not been determined. This matter has been shared with the appropriate law enforcement authorities and is currently under canonical investigation. If you or someone you know has been harmed by Father David Terrence Morgan or anyone representing the Catholic Church, call law enforcement or the Florida Department of Children and Families at 1-800-962-2873. You may also contact the Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Tina
Nugent, by calling (904) 208-6979 or email email@example.com