Diocese of Charleston releases list of priests accused of child sexual misconduct

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CHARLESTON, SC (WCBD/WSPA) The Diocese of Charleston has released a list of more than 40 priests with credible allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse of minors.

In a message posted online, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone said: “It is with a heavy heart and in the spirit of transparency and accountability that I, based on the recommendations of the independent Sexual Abuse Advisory Board of the Diocese of Charleston, release the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct or abuse involving a minor.”

Bishop Guglielmone said the victims of sexual abuse and their families have suffered much pain and are understandably hurt and angry.

The list of priests was compiled after a review of diocesan priest records.

Members of the Diocese said Every effort was made to ensure that the examination was thorough, precise and complete.

The list includes the names of those priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors in the Diocese dating back to 1950. It is separated into four parts:

  • Priests under the direct authority of the Diocese of Charleston as to which a credible allegation of sexual misconduct or abuse has been made involving conduct within the Diocese;
  • Visiting priests from another diocese and priests under the direct authority of a Religious Order, but assigned to the Diocese of Charleston, as to which a credible allegation of sexual misconduct or abuse has been made involving conduct within the Diocese;
  • Priests who served in the Diocese of Charleston, with no accusations within this Diocese, but who have credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors that occurred in another jurisdiction, and
  • Priests who are listed by virtue of a class action settlement payment as determined by an arbitrator

On the list of Diocesan priests with a credible allegation of child sexual misconduct or abuse with the Diocese of Charleston was Hayden Vaverek.

We reported last month that Michael Cassabon, a graduate of Saint Joseph’s Catholic School in Greenville, was calling on the school to take action against a teacher who allegedly drove him from Greenville to Greenwood to meet up with Vaverek.

According to the list released Friday, Vaverek was defrocked in May 2016.

Other priests listed with ties to the Upstate and surrounding areas include:

  • Roy Aiken St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken, St. Angela School in Aiken
  • Basil Congro Jesus Our Risen Savior Catholic Church in Spartanburg
  • Thomas Evett St. Mary Help of Christians in Aiken
  • George Frederick Moynihan  St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church in Spartanburg
  • James Sharples, of Rock Hill

To see the list of priests, which includes more than 40 from the Charleston area, click this link.

Father Robert Joseph Kelly listed is from the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown; he is not Monsignor Robert Justin Kelly, a diocesan priest, who passed away in 2004.

Bishop Guglielmone asks for continued prayers for all victims of sexual abuse.

Anyone who believes they are the victim of sexual misconduct or abuse by Church personnel is encouraged to contact law enforcement authorities in the area where the abuse occurred. 

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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