Rev. Hargadon, Imprisoned for Sex Abuse, Dies
Ex-Pastor Victimized 3 St. Polycarp Boys

By Burba Paula
Courier-Journal (Louisville, Kentucky)
May 18, 2005

The Rev. James Hargadon, a Roman Catholic priest who was imprisoned at the Kentucky State Reformatory for sexually abusing three boys, died Monday. He was 77.

Hargadon died at Baptist Hospital Northeast in LaGrange, said Lisa Lamb, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky Department of Corrections. He had been transferred from the prison to the hospital early Sunday morning, she said, and had a terminal illness that she declined to specify.

Today would have marked one year that Hargadon had served in the prison, Lamb said. He would have been eligible for parole in November, she said.

Hargadon was sentenced in Jefferson Circuit Court last June to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to sodomizing a 14-year-old boy in 1976 in the rectory of St. Polycarp Catholic Church in the Pleasure Ridge Park area, where he was pastor at the time.

In April 2004, he was convicted of molesting two teenage altar boys from St. Polycarp at a camp on Rough River and sentenced to eight years by a Grayson Circuit Court jury .

Hargadon was serving the sentences concurrently.

He was barred and permanently removed from the ministry by the Archdiocese of Louisville in 2002 along with seven other priests accused of sexual abuse.

Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly said yesterday that Hargadon was not removed from the priesthood because of his age and health, but was to live a life of "prayer and penance."

"I never will understand what makes people do the things he did, and my sympathy can never be removed from the children," Kelly said. "But ... apart from that, if you could make distinctions, he was a good pastor."

Kelly said he will preside at Hargadon's funeral Mass, which is scheduled for Friday at St. Michael Catholic Church.

A native of Louisville, Hargadon was ordained in 1955 and served as pastor at St. Polycarp from 1974 to 1984.

He also had been pastor of St. Edward in Jeffersontown and St. Francis Xavier in Mount Washington. He was a missionary serving in Peru from 1964 to 1972.

He retired from full-time ministry 1998 but continued to perform part-time parish duties until 2002, when he retired as senior associate pastor at St. Patrick Church in eastern Jefferson County.

Hargadon was named in four of the more than 200 local lawsuits alleging abuse by priests in the archdiocese and other church workers. The four cases accusing Hargadon were part of a $25.7million settlement that the archdiocese reached with 243 plaintiffs in 2003.


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