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SNAP of Tennessee

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee 

Bishop says sexual abuse allegations 'not credible'

 

Bishop says sexual abuse allegations 'not credible'

By Bill Dries
February 3, 2005

A Catholic priest accused in a civil lawsuit of sexually abusing two teenage brothers will return to his parish in Jackson, Tenn.

Memphis Catholic Bishop J. Terry Steib announced Wednesday he is returning Father Richard Mickey to the ministry after the church's investigation concluded the allegations were "not credible."

Blain and Blair Chambers are suing Mickey, the Memphis Diocese and Bishop Byrne High School, claiming Mickey sexually abused them in 1980 when they were students at the high school and Mickey was a counselor and teacher. Mickey was not a priest at the time.

The lawsuit, filed in July, claims the twins each had repressed memories of the alleged abuse that surfaced during a July 2003 fishing trip in Montana.

It is the first time a priest in the Memphis Diocese has been publicly accused of child sexual abuse.

Depositions in the lawsuit are scheduled to begin later this month.

Steib placed Mickey on administrative leave in August. Under terms of the leave, Mickey moved to Memphis from Jackson, where he was pastor of St. Mary Catholic Church. He also served as pastor of St. John parish in Brownsville, Tenn.

A diocesan review board appointed by Steib in the wake of sexual-abuse scandals in other cities made a confidential report to Steib.

Steib said he accepted the report and acted.

Mickey will return to both parishes effective Feb. 19. Steib will say mass at St. Mary that evening.

-- Bill Dries: 529-2643