Charlotte Diocese Adds 2 New Names To List Of Clergy 'Credibly Accused' Of Abuse

Mar 2, 2020

The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte has made additions to a list of clergy it considers credibly accused of sexual abuse. The updates which occurred on Friday, are the latest additions to the list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse involving minors since it was released late last year. 

The list is divided into 3 categories: credible accusations of abuse involving minors that occurred within the Charlotte Diocese, credible allegations of abuse involving minors that occurred in what was formerly known as the Raleigh Diocese but would now be considered the Charlotte Diocese, and the third “accused elsewhere” category which means they were named on other diocese's lists, but there are no documented allegations of abuse during their time within the Charlotte Diocese.

Both new names appear in the “accused elsewhere” category, and both priests are listed as deceased.

The first new name is Harold Johnson, a Boston priest who worked at St. Patrick’s in Charlotte from February 1957 to October 1959—back when the entire state was under the jurisdiction of the Raleigh Diocese. His name was published in 2011 in a list released by the Boston Archdiocese. WFAE originally reported on Johnson’s absence from the Raleigh and Charlotte lists on February 4. Days after our report, he was added to the Raleigh Diocese list.

The second name new to the list, is Texas priest Hugh Clarke.

Clarke is also listed on the Diocese of Corpus Christi and Raleigh lists. According to multiple media reports in 2011, a $1.2 million settlement was reached between the Diocese of Corpus Christi and three men who said they were sexually assaulted by Clarke when they were altar boys in the 1970s.

Clarke served at Immaculate Conception Church in Hendersonville (before the Charlotte Diocese formed in 1972) for about two years in the mid-1960s according to the Charlotte Diocese. 

The Charlotte Diocese did not publicly announce changes to the accused elsewhere category last week.

In a prepared statement the Charlotte Diocese says it will publicly announce any updates to the list if it involves abuse that occurred in the Charlotte Diocese when it was formed in 1972.

Full statement from the Charlotte Diocese:

Our Accountability webpage has been updated to include the names of two deceased priests accused by other dioceses of abuse in Texas and Massachusetts, because the priests once served at parishes in western North Carolina. We are unaware of any allegations of abuse against them in North Carolina, and their service in the 1950s and 1960s occurred before the Diocese of Charlotte was established in 1972. Nevertheless, we believe it is important to make the allegations known to communities where they once served, which now are part of the Charlotte diocese. As noted on our webpage, the diocese will continue to update information on the site as part of our commitment to transparency, accountability and the prevention of child sexual abuse. If allegations involve abuse within the Charlotte diocese, we also will continue to report to civil authorities, make public announcements at affected parishes, and publish information in the diocesan news outlet, the Catholic News Herald.

RELATED COVERAGE

In December, WFAE released an investigative podcast series, "The List," focusing on the process of Catholic dioceses releasing names of credibly accused clergy. The series, hosted and reported by Sarah Delia, also examines the impact of the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church – including in the Charlotte Diocese.