The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma said they are asking anyone with knowledge of possible sexual misconduct on the part of a Tulsa priest to come forward. Father Joe Townsend continues to be on administrative leave due to allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor.
A news release from the Diocese states that an ongoing, third-party investigation has provided them with a "better understanding" of the allegation made against Father Townsend, prompting the call for people to come forward. They can contact law enforcement or call the Pastoral Hotline at 918-307-4970.
The allegation against Father Townsend involves St. Pius X Church and School community almost 30 years ago, according to Father Richard Bradley, Pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church.
Related Story: Tulsa Priest Accused Of Sexual Misconduct With Minor
"We understand the need to fully investigate the allegation in order to bring to light any abuse that may have occurred, and we pledge our support of the investigative process. At the same time, we affirm that there are many students from that era as well as their parents, who remember Father Joe fondly and
favorably. We pray for a peaceful and speedy resolution to this matter," he said in a news release.
Father Townsend is cooperating with the investigation and denies all allegations of misconduct, the release said.
On August 2, the church released the following statement:
On Aug. 2, 2019, Harrison Garlick, Chancellor and In-House Counsel, released the following statement:
On July 5, 2019, the Diocese of Tulsa & Eastern Oklahoma (“Diocese”) announced that Father Joe Townsend, a priest of the Diocese, had been placed on administrative leave due to a non-frivolous allegation of sexual misconduct with a minor. After several weeks, the still ongoing third-party investigation has provided the Diocese with a better understanding of the allegation lodged against Father Townsend and what needs to be done to proceed with the investigation.
As such, in fulfillment of the Diocese’s commitment to transparency and our desire to determine the merits of the allegation, we wish to announce that the allegation of misconduct against Father Townsend stems from when he served as an Associate Pastor at St. Pius X Catholic Church from June 1988 to June 1991.
The Diocese is asking anyone with knowledge or concerns about any misconduct by Father Townsend, regardless of when the conduct occurred, to come forward at this time. Persons are invited to contact local law enforcement and call the diocesan Pastoral Hotline at (918) 307-4970. Callers to the Hotline will be greeted
by an automated message and may leave messages anonymously, if preferred.
Father Richard Bradley, the Pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Church, has commented: “At St. Pius, we are sad to learn that the allegation against Father Joe Townsend involves the St. Pius X Church and School community some 29 years ago. We understand the need to fully investigate the allegation in order to bring to light any abuse that may have occurred, and we pledge our support of the investigative process. At the same time, we affirm that there are many students from that era as well as their parents, who remember Father Joe fondly and favorably. We pray for a peaceful and speedy resolution to this matter.”
Bishop David Konderla has stated, “Our faith is rooted in Jesus Christ and His Church. I wish to express my gratitude toward all who continue to join me in praying for the patience and prudence necessary to see this matter carried out with justice and integrity.”
The investigation is still ongoing, and Father Townsend is still presumed innocent.