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LEXINGTON, Ky. (ChurchMilitant.com) - The diocese of Lexington released a list of accused clergy on Friday.
Lexington's bishop, Most Rev. John Stowe, announced the list's publication in a letter, stating, "With profound shame and abiding sadness for all who have been victimized by priests within what is now the diocese of Lexington, I present the following listing of priests accused of the abuse of minors."
Independent investigators compiled the list of 23 priests. It includes 10 priests with "substantiated allegations" of sexual abuse of minors, four with "credible allegations," eight who served in the area but have allegations in other dioceses and one priest against whom allegations were deemed "unsubstantiated."
At the close of his letter, Bp. Stowe encouraged victims of clerical sex abuse to contact civil authorities.
The founding bishop of the Lexington diocese, Bp. James K. Williams, is on the list of alleged predator priests.
Bishop Williams resigned in disgrace in 2002, after three lawsuits were filed claiming he had sexually abused teenage boys. The bishop has denied the allegations.
Bishop Williams' name was also on the list of accused clergy that the archdiocese of Louisville released in Feb. 2019.
Williams was ordained a priest for the archdiocese of Louisville in 1963 and served as auxiliary bishop in the Covington diocese beginning in 1984. He was put in charge of the diocese of Lexington when it was created in 1988.
Bishop Williams' entry on the list of accused clergy says the following:
There have been at least two allegations of sexual misconduct with minors in Louisville; a civil suit was filed by both individuals, and the cases were settled as part of a large class action. The bishop has denied all allegations. No criminal charges have ever been filed.With profound shame and abiding sadness for all who have been victimized ... I present the following listing of priests accused of the abuse of minors.
When Pope St. John Paul II created the Lexington diocese, its territory was taken from the diocese of Covington and the archdiocese of Louisville.
The report exclusively covers child sexual abuse — not abuse affecting adults.
None of the accused abusers are in active ministry today, the investigators' document states.
Perhaps the most notorious predator priest on the list is Fr. Anthony T. Jablonowski. Ordained in the Covington diocese in 1970, Fr. Jablonowski left the diocese six years later on loan to the Glenmary Home Missions.
He went on to abuse minors in dioceses around the country, from Ohio to Arizona. His entry on the list speaks of "credible allegations of child sexual abuse by the diocese of Cheyenne, the diocese of Tucson, the diocese of Steubenville, Glenmary Home Missions and the diocese of Covington."
Jablonowski has one known victim in the Lexington diocese — from Lexington Catholic High School in the 1970s.
In Cheyenne, Wyoming in 2004, he pleaded no contest to sex abuse charges. He was laicized in 2006.
The current bishop of Lexington, Bp. Stowe, has been criticized for supporting theological dissent and trumpeting left-wing politics.
He is a member of the Association of United States Catholic Priests (AUSCP), an organization that promotes heresy and dissent.
For example, in 2019, AUSCP called for women's ordination — a fact exposed by the Lepanto Institute, a lay Catholic watchdog group.
Likewise, this May, the bishop of Toledo, Ohio warned the faithful that a "woman priest" involved in AUSCP had been officially excommunicated by the Vatican.
Another point of criticism for Bp. Stowe was his stance on the Covington Catholic incident at the 2019 March for Life — when Native American activist Nathan Phillips had a tense face-to-face encounter with Nick Sandmann, a student at Covington Catholic High School, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.
Highly edited footage made Phillips look like the victim, surrounded and mocked by a mob of teenagers — many of them in "Make America Great Again" hats. Mainstream media ran with this narrative, and many Catholic and pro-life leaders put out statements condemning the students' behavior.
But soon, more extensive video footage came to light that flipped the narrative on its head. It showed Phillips and other activists approaching the crowd of teens, apparently targeting them for the MAGA hats some of them wore.
Many pro-lifers and Church leaders reversed course, apologizing for their rush to judgment.
As others issued apologies, Bp. Stowe doubled down. He wrote an op-ed for a local newspaper slamming the pro-life teens for wearing MAGA hats.
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