Thursday, May 23, 2002

Diocese defends accused bishop


Williams served area 'faithfully'

By Dan Horn, dhorn@enquirer.com
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Bishop J. Kendrick Williams had a good reputation and a clean personnel record during his four years serving the Diocese of Covington during the 1980s, Catholic church officials said Wednesday.

        Bishop Williams, who now serves the Diocese of Lexington, was accused in a lawsuit Tuesday of molesting an altar boy in Louisville more than 20 years ago.

Williams
Williams
        His accuser, 33-year-old James W. Bennett, said he was molested in 1981.

        Bishop Williams, who denies the accusation, spent most of his career in the Diocese of Louisville, but moved to Covington in 1984 to become auxiliary bishop. He left in 1988 to become bishop in Lexington.

        Church officials in Covington said Wednesday that they had received no complaints about Bishop Williams' behavior during his time in Northern Kentucky.

        “Bishop Williams served the people of the Diocese of Covington faithfully and fruitfully during his four years here,” said diocese spokesman Tim Fitzgerald.

        The diocese has given prosecutors the names and files of three other priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

        Those cases have been reviewed by prosecutors, but no criminal charges have been filed.

        Bishop Williams was suspended from his position in Lexington pending the outcome of an investigation into the misconduct allegations from Louisville.

        The Associated Press contributed to this report.
       



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