Priest Temporarily Suspended Pending Investigation

Owensboro, KY – Fr. Joseph Edward Bradley, priest of the Diocese of Owensboro and current volunteer chaplain at Owensboro Catholic High School, has been temporarily suspended after a report of sexual abuse of a minor was received on Tuesday, February 26.

The allegation refers to sexual abuse by Fr. Bradley in the 1980s while he was principal at Owensboro Catholic High School. In keeping with the policy of the Diocese of Owensboro, this was immediately reported to the local Commonwealth Attorney’s Office and the Diocesan Review Board.

After consultation with the Diocesan Review Board, a 12 member group formed in 2002 as mandated by the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, Bishop William F. Medley decided to act upon their recommendation to temporarily suspend Fr. Bradley from public ministry until the investigation is complete.

Fr. Bradley, who was ordained a priest of the diocese in 1975, became a staff member at Owensboro Catholic High School in 1976, where he served as principal from1980 through 1985. He pastored five parishes in the Diocese of Owensboro; was the vocations director for four years; retired from public ministry in 2011 and began his role as volunteer chaplain at Owensboro Catholic High School at that time.

When an allegation concerning sexual abuse of a minor is received, the following actions are taken in conformity with the Sexual Abuse Policy and Procedures of the Diocese of Owensboro: 

  • The diocese submits a report to civil authorities, if not already contacted, and fully cooperates with civil authorities as the investigation proceeds;
  • The person who has been accused is placed on an administrative leave of absence;
  • The diocese conducts an internal investigation of the accusation.

All of these steps are underway.

“Our policies require that any priest accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor be suspended to assure the safety of children and youth,” said Bishop Medley. “Our commitment is to take seriously any allegation brought to us while at the same time affording Fr. Bradley a presumption of innocence until more information is available.”

To report suspected abuse, call the Kentucky Child Protection Hot Line: 1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331 (Toll Free) or contact your local Commonwealth Attorney.

To report abuse to the diocese, current or past, by anyone acting in the name of the Church, please call: 270-852-8380 to speak with our Pastoral Assistance Coordinator in English and 270-880-8360 for Spanish. You may also visit our Office of Safe Environment for more information.