Retired Priest from St. Augustine Accused of Abuse
A retired priest from the Diocese of St. Augustine in Florida has been accused of abuse. Now, parents and parishioners must demand answers from Catholic leaders on the history of this allegedly abusive cleric and demand steps be taken to protect children and prevent future cases of abuse.
The Diocese would not specify how many allegations Father David Terrence Morgan is facing or the nature of the accusations against him. However, we find it difficult to believe that the Church just learned of the charges against the priest given the 2018 announcement where Fr. Morgan announced he was going on “sabbatical” to work with a “spiritual advisor.” Vague announcements and postings are commonly used when a clergyman has been accused of abuse, and we suspect that these are the typical, sanitized explanations used to hide allegations.
Florida’s attorney general recently released a report on its investigation into clergy abuse, but that report was flawed in our view because it relied on voluntary disclosures from Catholic officials. We wonder if one or more victims of Fr. Morgan's read the Florida report, did not see their abuser’s name, became incensed, and contacted either secular authorities or the Bishop of St. Augustine and demanded greater transparency. Whether that was the case or whether it was simply a survivor or survivors who came forward to speak truth to power, we applaud the courage of the person or persons who made the complaint. Without them, Fr. Morgan would still be a priest in good standing where he would have the platform and bully pulpit to groom and abuse others.
St. Augustine has about 170,000 Catholics. SNAP's analytics say that there should be about 50 accused priests, not the fourteen to which the diocese admits. We are certain that there are more Fr. Morgan's out there, either hidden by the Diocese or not yet named. We hope parents and parishioners in St. Augustine will join us and call on the Florida Attorney General’s office to open an investigation into Fr. Morgan specifically and to ask Catholic officials in St. Augustine why was he not reported to the AG when it appears that he may have already been reported to his bishop?
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)