List of Pedophile Priests in the Diocese of Memphis Abysmal, Victims of Abuse say

Today, the Catholic Diocese of Memphis released its long-awaited list of priests credibly accused of sexual molestation.  Memphis joins a growing number of Catholic Dioceses who are releasing the names of credibly accused priests in an attempt to show transparency and avoid scrutiny by independent investigators including the Attorney General of the state. 

"This list is woefully incomplete and lacks any kind of transparency.  This is an insult to victims of abuse across the state of Tennessee," says Susan Vance, a leader of SNAP in Tennessee.  "Where are these names:  Father Richard Mickey, Father Milton Guthrie, Father Gregory Salata, Father Maurice Nutt?  The abuse by these men is in the public domain.  Look in the press archives.  Why are they not on this list?"  


Memphis is trying to only put forth names which were ruled on by the Diocesan Review Board, a group created following the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops decree called simply the Dallas Charter of 2002.  This, however, completely misses all the names in the secret canonical archives that are housed in the office of the Diocese.  


"Memphis has followed the blueprint of Nashville and Knoxville by putting out a few names, and if there is no outcry, they get away with it," says David Brown, also a SNAP of Tennessee leader.  "The people of the Diocese of Memphis deserve better than this from Bishop Talley.  This is a cowardly effort to hide these pedophiles who harm children as well as those priests who sexually exploit adults."  


Most of the list from Memphis was already released by Nashville.  Also many victims have been silenced by the Church in all three of the Tennessee Dioceses by NDAs (Non-Disclosure Agreements and Non-Disparaging Agreements) entered into by victims with the Church.  


"Unwittingly, victims who have gone to the church since 2002 have been duped by the Diocese.  All the NDAs they signed, with or without a lawyer, are not worth the paper they are written on," says Vance.  "All three Catholic Diocese are under scrutiny for the violation of article 3 of the Dallas Charter.:


This letter was sent in January to the National Review Board of the US Conference of Catholic Bishop.  All three bishops in Tennessee were copied on this letter. 


"Memphis apparently did not open their secret canonical archives at all.  They just took a list from Nashville added a few names from lists put out by religious orders, threw in a few for good measure and called it quits" says Vance.  "They were handed many pedophiles by Nashville when Memphis became a diocese in 1971.  This list will not stand the test of time."


In September, Brown and Vance sent a letter to Bishop David Talley giving him a list of 56 names to be considered when Memphis compiled their list.  


"The letter below will tell you how far off the mark Memphis is.  Bishop Talley, redo your list.  And while you are at it, remove the body of pedophile first bishop Carroll T. Dozier from your diocesan Cathedral. These two things should be your first order of business to correct the abysmal record of the Diocese of Memphis," states Brown.


Below is the letter sent to Bishop Talley in September 2019.  Each blank in the letter is a priest's name sent to Talley. 


September 24, 2019

The Most Reverend David P. Talley, M.S.W., J.C.D. 

The Catholic Center

5825 Shelby Oaks Drive

Memphis, TN 38134-7316

Dear Bishop Talley,

As the diocese of Memphis moves toward the release of names of credibly accused priests, we of SNAP of Tennessee wish to have a list of names scrutinized for this list.  There are 5 criteria that we have used to formulate this list.  

At least one of the criteria apply to each name:  

  1.  The priest's name is in the public domain having been revealed through the diocese of Memphis and/or reported in the press.

  2. The priest's name has been revealed by victims to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests in Tennessee.

  3. The pattern of assignments of a priest is suspicious and indicative of possible hiding of abuse by re-assignment rather than reporting to law enforcement.  

  4. The priest identified by #1-3 may also point to interstate trafficking of pedophile priests.  

  5. In some cases, it is difficult to tell from assignment records whether or not a priest was incardinated into the Diocese of Memphis or remained a member of the Diocese of Nashville.  In that case, that priest's name will be on the Memphis list and on any subsequent lists sent also to the Diocese of Nashville. 

  6. Sexual exploitation of adults by priests is now part of the abuse policies in dioceses across the country.  Survivors of adult exploitation will be standing up much more in the future. There are priests on this list because of their abuse of adults.  The sexual abuse policy of the Diocese of Memphis must be updated to reflect this and your list must also include this fact.  

  7. The priest is listed on the credibly accused list of another diocese.  If this priest was assigned in the diocese of Memphis, he should be also listed on the credibly accused list of the diocese of Memphis.  

These following priests should be examined for inclusion in the list of credibly accused priests for purposes of completeness and transparency:

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SNAP of Tennessee also finds the pattern of assigning diocesan priests to the State Penal Farm troubling.  Priests would appear in the Official Catholic Directory for the State Penal Farm for a year or so and then these priests do not show up again in the OCD for the Memphis Diocese.  While there is a valid prison ministry, a pattern of appearing for a few years and then disappearing off the rolls of the Diocese matches “hiding by re-assignment” that is all too familiar in the clergy sex abuse scandal.  Please look carefully at these assignments in your canonical secret files and other sources.  

Priests of religious orders and Christian Brothers who have abused and are on the lists of their various communities are something to be investigated by the diocese and reported to the faithful.  SNAP of Tennessee is following this closely.  

We sincerely hope that the Diocese of Memphis will be the exemplar in producing their list of credibly accused priests.  Both of the other dioceses of Tennessee, Nashville and Knoxville, have failed woefully in this area. SNAP of Tennessee will be addressing these deficiencies in the very near future.  

As SNAP has been advocating for victims of clergy sexual abuse across the state of Tennessee, we are hoping that the Catholic Diocese of Memphis will be fully transparent and open so that healing my begin.  With the submission of this list, we reserve the right to update with more names as they become apparent to us.  


Susan E. Vance                      

SNAP of Tennessee


[email protected]

David Brown


[email protected]

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