JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Diocese of St. Augustine said Thursday night that "credible allegations of sexual abuse" have been made against a priest who served at a Jacksonville parish in the 1980s and 1990s.
The allegations involve Father William Malone, a former priest who served here from 1982 to 1991.
In a statement, the diocese said the allegations were made against Father William Malone, who served in the diocese from January 1982 to March 1992.
The abuses happened in the early 1980s at Sacred Heart Parish in Jacksonville.
Action News Jax Ryan Nelson spoke to a church member who says they're praying for the congregation.
"It’s gonna take a lot of counseling," said Raymond Taber, a Sacred Heart choir member. "... It’s a lot of work even on that individual’s part to deal with what happened."
The diocese, police officers, and DCF are asking anyone who believes they may have been harmed by someone representing the catholic church to come forward.
Action News Jax has reached out to the diocese for comment. We’re told someone will be made available in the morning.
A review of the investigations were conducted by an independent investigator and that report has been turned over to law enforcement, the diocese said.
The diocese released the following statement to Action News Jax.
"Credible allegations of sexual abuse of a minor have been made against Father William Malone, a Holy Ghost Father who served in the Diocese of St. Augustine from January 1982 to March 1992.
"The abuses occurred in the early 1980s at Sacred Heart Parish in Jacksonville.
"A thorough review of the allegations was conducted by an independent investigator. Based on his report, the Diocesan Review Board found the allegations to be credible. The report has been shared with local law enforcement. Bishop Felipe Estévez has met with the victim to express his deep sorrow for the pain the victim has suffered, and he apologized on behalf of the church.
"Father Malone served as an associate pastor at Sacred Heart Parish in Jacksonville from 1982 to 1991, and associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Palm Coast from 1991 to 1992. He moved to the Holy Ghost Fathers community in Long Island, N.Y. in March 1992. In Sept. 1993 he returned to the Ireland Province of the Holy Ghost Fathers where he remained until his death in 2003.
"If you or someone you know has been harmed by someone representing the Catholic Church, call the police. You can report abuse to the Florida Department of Children and Families by calling 1-800-962-2873. You may also contact the Diocesan Victim Assistant Coordinator, Tina Nugent, by calling (904) 208-6979 or email email@example.com.
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