JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Diocese of St. Augustine has confirmed that a second person was abused by the late Father William Malone, who served from 1982 to 1992 at the Sacred Heart Parish in Jacksonville.
An investigation into Father Malone began in late October 2018 after the Diocese received a letter from a victim. Action News Jax first reported late Thursday the investigation revealed Malone had abused a child in the early 1980’s at Sacred Heart, and the report was shared with local law enforcement.
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During that investigation, one additional person was found to have been abused by Malone. That victim was a young adult at the time according to Kathleen Bagg, Director of Communications for the Diocese of St. Augustine.
There are no other investigations underway involving Malone, according to Bagg.
Father Malone served as associate pastor at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish in Palm Coast from 1991 to 1992. He then moved to the Holy Ghost Fathers community in Long Island in March 1992. In September of 1993, he returned to the Ireland Province of the Holy Ghost Fathers where he remained until his death in 2003.
Associate Pastors are moved regularly as part of a rotation, and the Diocese says there were no known allegations against Father Malone until October 2018.
According to the Charter for the Protection of Children, which was adopted by U.S. Bishops in 2002, if a case is several years old, the diocese will assign a Victims Advocate to meet with the victim/survivor to provide pastoral care and counseling.
“Our main goal is to provide pastoral and psychological care for the victim/survivor and to encourage others who may have been abused to come forward,” Bagg said.
The Diocese of St. Augustine is encouraging anyone who has been harmed by someone representing the Catholic Church to call the police or report it to the Department of Children and Families at 800-962-2873.
In October of 2018 the Florida attorney general launched a website for victims to report allegations of past sexual abuse by catholic priests in the state of Florida.
Kathleen Bagg a spokesperson with the diocese of St. Augustine says the alleged abused happened on church property,
“It happened on church property at sacred heart in the early 1980’s.”
She says the victims letter gave multiple reasons why they came forward close to 40 years later.
Bagg says priests are required to go through a protecting Gods children course so that they can learn about sexual abuse of minors.
In recent years the catholic church has come under fire amid allegations of sexual abuse throughout the country.
Florida launched their investigation into the church in the wake of a Pennsylvania report released August of 2018 where more than 300 priests had been credibly accused of sexual abuse by more than 1,000 children
While Malone has since passed, Action News Jax Law and Safety expert Dale Carson says if investigators find the church or anyone knew about the alleged abuse and did not report it there could be a suit brought against them.
If you are a victim of a Florida priest you can submit your case here.
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