Filling place for or Mickey in two churches
by James Dowd and Ruma Banerji Kumar
August 24, 2004
Bishop J. Terry Steib of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis has named Rev. Robert Ponticello as temporary administrator at St. Mary Church in Jackson, Tenn., and St. John Church in Brownsville.
Ponticello, 50, is Episcopal Vicar of the Diocese and director of the diocesan residence for retired priests. He will continue in those posts while at the parishes.
Father Richard Mickey, who had served the parishes since June, was placed on administrative leave Aug. 12 after twin brothers Blain and Blair Chambers, now 39 and living in Montana, filed a lawsuit alleging he sexually abused them in 1980 when they were students at Bishop Byrne High School.
The diocese has retained former district attorney John Pierotti to conduct an independent investigation.
The Diocese works diligently to be sure that all the children under our care are safe," Steib said in a statement. "We reach out to victims who have been abused and those who allege that they have been abused. We also are concerned that parties to any suit are presumed innocent until they are proven guilty."