Questions about Memphis priest accused in suit

Questions about Memphis priest accused in suit

A Mepmhis priest has resigned from his parish while he faces a civil trial alleging sexual abuse of a young man. The priest, Fr. Richard Mickey, originally had been suspended from ministry in 2004, but Bishop J. Terry Steib returned him to ministry in 2005, saying that the allegations were not credible. (I’ve blogged about Steib before regarding the friendly welcome he provides for the gay agenda in Memphis.)

Victims’ groups say Fr. Robert Mickey should never have been returned to ministry, while the diocese says that Mickey is leaving his parish, not because he’s admitting wrongdoing, but because the lawsuit is a distraction. Mickey is accused of abusing at least two young men back in the 1980s. (Hmm, they say they “recovered” the memories recently. I am dubious about the claim of recovered memory, although for personal reasons I am not completely skeptical.) A third man says in a recent deposition that he and Mickey were a “dating couple.” (Remember, the “experts” wag their fingers and tell us that homosexuality has nothing to do with the Scandal.)

Among the evidence claimed in the case are more than 70 cards and letters allegedly sent from Mickey to the victims.

Whether or not Mickey engaged in any illegal conduct, the evidence that he engaged in sinful conduct unbecoming a Catholic priest looks pretty damning. Makes you wonder why Steib reinstated him. It also makes you wonder about other priests exonerated under Steib’s administration.

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli
4 comments
  • This is a mess; it’s not easy to untangle it all.

    1. Repressed memories. Not saying they have NO validity, but of course you have to be very careful, very skeptical of this sort of thing.

    2. The “dating” relationship with the 18 y.o. Ugh! Double-ugh! Ew!

    OK, all that said, now I ask—what’s up with the 18 y.o., who later married; then the priest baptized their child?

    Not saying this was “OK,” but this seems sort of consensual. That’s only relevant because, in a civil action, isn’t there such a concept as proportionate culpability? I.e., it’s not necessarily 100%/0%, but could be 70%/30%, something like that . . .

    The “whole package” makes the priest here look really bad; and that may be right. On the other hand, some of this is opportunistic, too.

    3. SNAP’s involvement. I really have no respect for SNAP, although I admit they probably are linking to valid documents. Still, I don’t trust them. It’s amazing how facts can be manipulated.

    Oh, what a mess.

  • Yes, the original lawsuit is indeed dubious.  However, the additional accusation with the corroborating evidence of over 70 cards and letters that Fr. Mickey admits, in a sworn deposition that is on file in the court records, that he sent to this young man while he was a chaplain at the high school the young man attended.  What I find interesting is that when this evidence was uncovered and Father Mickey admitted to having sent these cards and letters, Bishop Steib still did not remove him from ministry in the hopes of preventing further scandal.  Then Father Mickey “resigned” to “concentrate on the personal issues affecting his life.”  Here you cannot help but wonder whether this was a “spin control” plan on the part of the Diocese of Memphis. 

    Morevoer, whether or not Fr. Mickey and this young man were in a “consensual” relationship, and whether or not Fr. Mickey baptized the young man’s child is not the point.  Crazier things have happened.  The issue here is that apparently something happened between this priest and this student.

    Additionally, at this point there seems to be at least one retired priest and one active priest in a parish in the Diocese of Memphis that enjoys the faculties to administer the sacraments yet still under the threat of accusations.  While Bishop Steib and his “review board” has determined that there is not enough evidence to conclude that any inappropriate behavior occurred, one cannot help but wonder what criteria the Bishop and his team of experts use in making these sensitive judgments.  It seems they dropped the ball on the Mickey case. 

    Given their stance on the Church and the priesthood, I am very wary of SNAP as well, but they really haven’t manipulated the facts on this particular case.

    A mess indeed!  I just wish Memphis had a bishop who could exert some leadership instead of hiding behind a priest-spokesman who smiles a lot and says little.  But, given Steib’s repuation as a “gay friendly” bishop, it seems unlikely that he is going to take any stand on Fr. Mickey’s behavior.

  • I must correct a glaring error in grammar in my previous post.  The sentence should read:

    However, the additional accusation (with the corroborating evidence of over 70 cards and letters that Fr. Mickey admits, in a sworn deposition that is on file in the court records, that he sent to this young man while he was a chaplain at the high school the young man attended) is not.

    Still a bit verbose, but at least I corrected the fragment!  Sorry!

  • Are “repressed” memories simply “forgotten” ones?  I have lots of memories of events ranging from the good to the slightly traumatizing that pop in from time to time after never thinking on them in years.

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