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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee




Sexual abuse cases prompt new policy

by David Keim
The Knoxville News-Sentinel
July 29, 1999

Like others on Knoxville Catholic High School's board of directors, Father Xavier Mankel didn't know his fellow priest, Frank Richards, was accused of sexually abusing three boys when he resigned as principal in 1985.   "I don't think anybody on the board knew about it," said Mankel, pastor at Holy Ghost Catholic Church. "If an individual member knew about it, he or she kept his counsel."

   More information surfaced after Richards left for Nashville, where he got therapy and eventually left the priesthood in 1989. In recent weeks, Richards' confessions to Nashville police and the conviction of fellow priest Edward McKeown made clear the extent of the priests' pedophilia.

   Families of the Knoxville victims didn't protest Richards' completion of the 1984-85 school year for fear an immediate resignation would cause unwanted publicity, a spokesman for the Nashville diocese confirmed.

   Mankel added, "I don't think anything like this would happen today. I believe the reporting would be immediate and the person would be out of there that day."

   The Diocese of Knoxville, which formed out of the Nashville diocese in 1988, recently enacted detailed policy for preventing sexual abuse and for addressing any allegations that aris