Diocese of St. Augustine ACCUSED PRIESTS
The Diocese of St. Augustine covers a large swath of North Florida, serving about 150,000 Catholics across the cities of St. Augustine, Jacksonville, and Gainesville. Like Unfortunately, like far too many other dioceses throughout the world, the Diocese of St. Augustine has been home to far too many incidents of child sex abuse since its creation.
After a two-year investigation into clergy sexual abuse allegations , the Florida State Attorney General issued a report naming 97 Florida priests with victims who credibly accused them of child sexual abuse while serving in a Florida diocese. Five of those named priests served in the Diocese of St. Augustine, including:
- John Dux,
- Richard Bowles,
- William Malone,
- Thomas McNamara, and
- William Weinheimer.
The Attorney General’s report also noted that 81 priests were assigned to Florida after being accused of sexual abuse in other states, fueling Florida’s reputation as the Catholic Church’s most considerable “dumping ground” for predator priests. One of these priests was former Jesuit priest Cornelius Carr; ordained as a priest in 1951, Carr’s victim accused him of sexually abusing him as a minor in the late 1970s while he was assigned to Jesuit High School in New Orleans. The victim accused Carr while he was in the Diocese of St. Augustine. Despite these credible accusations, Carr had also served in various roles in across New York and New Jersey.
The victim claimed he told church officials and law enforcement about Carr’s abuse, but no one believed him. The Jesuit High School later paid him $450,000 to settle his lawsuit against the school. Before the accusations, Carr had been assigned to Christ the King Catholic Church in Jacksonville from 2002 to 2005. Carr died in 2013.
In 2020, the diocese removed priest John H. Dux after the diocese learned of credible allegations that Dux sexually abused a parishioner in 1976 when Dux was assigned to St. Patrick’s in Gainesville, Florida. His accuser claimed that Dux molested him on a trip to the state fair in Tampa when the victim was 14 years old.
The diocese has paid out large settlements in priest-abuse lawsuits throughout the years. In 2005, the diocese joined with the Diocese of Orlando to pay $1.5 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that former priests Vernon Uhran and Hubert Reason had molested three former altar boys for years during the 1960s and 1970s. The victims were 11 to 15 years old at the time of the abuse, which occurred in church rectories, hotel rooms, and spiritual retreats.
The Diocese of St. Augustine once spanned the entirety of Florida east of the Apalachicola River, but was later split to form other dioceses. In 2020, the diocese released a list of thirteen priests credibly accused of sexually abusing minors while in the diocese’s current boundaries, including:
- Richard Bowles
- Gilles J.R. Brault
- John Byrne
- Cornelius “Neil” Carr
- John H. Dux
- Augustus “Gus” Griffin
- Howard C. Litts
- William J. Malone
- Thomas V. McNamara
- David McCreanor
- Michael E. Morse
- James Flannan Walsh
- William J. Weinheimer.
The diocese lists the abuse dates for each priest, showing allegations spanning from 1954 to 1991. If someone sexually abused you or a loved one at the Diocese of St. Augustine, we can help you understand your legal rights. You do not have to go through the challenging healing process alone. Contact our legal team of Florida sexual abuse attorneys for a free consultation to understand whether you can file a claim, and learn how we can help you.
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