On March 1, 2019, Fr. Joseph Edward Bradley, a priest of the Diocese of Owensboro, was temporarily suspended from public ministry by Bishop William F. Medley following a recommendation of the Diocesan Review Board that an allegation of the sexual abuse of a minor had been found credible.
At that time an investigation of the allegation, which dated from the early 1980s, was initiated. In the course of this investigation a second individual reported an allegation of misconduct involving a minor dating from 1980. Fr. Bradley was Dean of Students and then Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School during this time period.
The first allegation was received on February 26, 2019, and in keeping with the diocesan policy was immediately reported to the local Commonwealth’s Attorney. The second allegation came to the diocese on March 4, 2019, and this too was reported to the Commonwealth’s Attorney.
The Diocesan Review Board, a 12-member group formed in 2002 as mandated by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, undertook an investigation that included interviewing several individuals and reviewing a report provided by an independent investigator. On April 25, 2019, this board recommended to Bishop Medley that the allegations be deemed substantiated.
“I have accepted the counsel of the Diocesan Review Board that they believe these allegations have been substantiated,” said Bishop Medley.
Next, Bishop Medley will submit a report to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican, recommending that Fr. Bradley’s temporary suspension from public ministry be made permanent. During this process, Fr. Bradley is entitled to canonical counsel and representation and his suspension from public ministry will remain in force. Fr. Bradley does maintain his innocence. The Vatican will render the final decision.
Bishop Medley added, “We have a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct by anyone acting in the name of the Church. We stand ready to offer support to anyone who has ever been harmed.”