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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests - Tennessee




Why Tennessee must be investigated . . . The mystery of James A. Kemper

For Immediate Release
Press Contact:  Susan Vance, a leader of SNAP of Tennessee
Date:  November 29, 2018
Phone:  865-748-3518

Nashville Pedophile Priest List Reveals One Abuser Assigned for 27 Years in New MexicoVictims challenge Bishop Mark Spalding, Archbishop John Wester of Santa Fe and Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville to come clean about Kemper.
James Kemper "on duty outside the diocese" of Nashville and Memphis for 8 years until 1973 but Nashville says his active ministry ended in 1964.
Kemper assigned in Santa Fe archdiocese until 1992.
Who has James Kemper's secret file: Nashville, Memphis or Santa Fe?  (Letter to bishops of three dioceses included below.)

NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE:  Survivors of clergy sex abuse are asking Bishop Mark Spalding to clarify the information on his list of pedophiles priests..  

"The entry on James Kemper, added as a correction to the first published list, is wrong and very evasive," says Susan Vance of SNAP of Tennessee.  

In a letter emailed to Spalding, bishop of the Catholic diocese of Nashville, survivors of abuse want the truth told.  This glaringly incorrect information given on Kemper makes all the other listings appear suspect as well.  (See letter below).

"What else are they hiding?  If it were not for SNAP's research, no one would know the truth about the Kemper listing.  This points to a more and more urgent need for third party investigation of the Catholic dioceses in Tennessee," says Vance.

November 29, 2018

Bishop Mark Spalding
The Catholic Pastoral Center
2800 McGavock Pike
Nashville, TN, 37214-1402

Dear Bishop Spalding,

Many issues remain regarding the release of names of pedophile priests by the diocese of Nashville. You have the secret archives at your disposal and have not been successful in producing a complete list of pedophiles despite your public statement that you have done so. If we can research these priests and give information from the public domain, how can you continue to fail so miserably to give us the truth?

One of the latest entries on the list is James A. Kemper, posted on November 8, 2018. Here is the exact wording from your website:
“James Kemper, who was ordained in 1942 and remained in active ministry until 1964, is named on a list published by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico.”

Our research shows this entry is incorrect and very evasive. Is there a reason why the diocese of Nashville chose to format Kemper's entry so much differently from the other entries? Other entries show dates of birth and ordination as well as incardination and death if applicable and then a paragraph of assignments.

The only information given on Kemper on the website is a date of ordination and then false information about how long he was in ministry followed by a statement about his name appearing on “a list published by the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico.”

False: “Remained in active ministry until 1964.” True: Kemper is listed in the pages of the Official Catholic Directory (OCD) in the diocese of Nashville until 1971, then Memphis until 1973. In their listing of him as a pedophile, Santa Fe has him listed in ministry until 1992. See below:
SNAP of Tennessee is unable to access the years in the OCD for 1942-1954
1955 St. Rose Murfreesboro
1956 St. Rose, Murfreesboro, TN
1957 St. Rose, Murfreesboro, TN
1958 St. Rose, Murfreesboro, TN
1959 Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Chattanooga, TN
1960 Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Chattanooga, TN
1961 Holy Rosary Memphis, TN
1962 Holy Rosary Memphis, TN
1963 Holy Rosary Memphis, TN
1964 St. James, Memphis, TN
1965 On duty outside the diocese, Our Lady of the Assumption Church, Albuquerque, NM
1966 On duty outside the diocese, Sacred Heart Church, Espanola, NM
1967 On duty outside the diocese, Sacred Heart Church, Espanola, NM
1968 On duty outside the diocese, Sacred Heart Church, Espanola, NM
1969 On duty outside the diocese, Santa Clara Church, Wagon Mound, NM
1970 On duty outside the diocese, Santa Clara Church, Wagon Mound, NM
1971 On duty outside the diocese, Santa Clara Church, Wagon Mound, NM

The year 1971 was a transition year in the OCD for Nashville/Memphis. We believe that Kemper was incardinated into the diocese of Memphis in 1971 because the following entries are found in the pages of the OCD for the diocese of Memphis:
1972 On duty outside the diocese (listed in the Diocese of Memphis pages of the Official Catholic Directory. No specific location was given for 1972
1973 On duty outside the diocese, St. Ignacio Church, Albuquerque, NM

The following information was given from the website of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, New Mexico:
Fr. James Kemper (deceased)
Sacred Heart, Espanola; 1965 to 1966
St. Anne, Santa Fe; 1966 to 1967
Santa Clara, Wagon Mound; 1967 to 1969
San Ignacio, Albuquerque; 1969 to 1975
Our Lady of Annunciation, Alb.; 1975 to 1992

Questions that need to be answered:
  1. Why did you fail to list his assignments in Tennessee from 1942 and if he was indeed incardinated into the diocese of Memphis?
  2. Why your deception about the assignment record of James A. Kemper in regard to his being “on duty outside the diocese” in New Mexico?
  3. In which diocese was he ultimately incardinated: Nashville, Memphis or Santa Fe? All three?
  4. Who has the secret archive on James Kemper: Nashville, Memphis and/or Santa Fe?
  5. When does your secret canonical archive on Kemper state the first allegations against him were made?
  6. Was Nashville or Memphis guilty of trafficking a known pedophile across state lines to continue to minister in parishes and be a threat to children/teens in New Mexico?

A copy of this letter will be sent to the Archbishop of Santa Fe, John C. Wester, and to Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, KY, who is interim administrator of Memphis. We hope that among the three dioceses involved we can get a truthful answer to this seriously flawed information on Kemper. One has to suspect that such vague documentation on your website was an attempt to hid some culpability on the part of either the diocese of Nashville or the diocese of Memphis. We can reasonably conjecture that if Santa Fe had not published Kemper's name on its pedophile list that you and Memphis would have never bothered to own up to Kemper at all.

Anticipating clarification of this matter.


Susan Vance
SNAP of Tennessee

cc: Archbishop John C. Wester, Archdiocese of Santa Fe, 4000 Saint Joseph's Place NW,Albuquerque, NM 87120-1714

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, Archdiocese of Louisville, Pastoral Center, 3940 Poplar Level Road, Louisville, KY 40213-1463

About SNAP: We are SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. We are the largest, oldest and most active support group for women and men wounded by religious authority figures (priests, ministers, bishops, deacons, nuns and others}.