Assignment Record– Rev. Richard M. Powers
Summary of Case: Richard Powers was ordained for the Owensboro diocese in 1959 and went on to assist in and pastor parishes throughout the diocese. He left Kentucky in 1982 to serve as a military chaplain in Alaska, Virginia, New York, Washington DC, and Florida. He returned to Owensboro and parish work in 1989. Powers also served in the diocese as a Consultor and member of the Priests' Council and Priests' Personnel Committee. In 1995 a woman reported to the diocese that she had been sexually abused as a girl between 1962-1970 by Powers and two other priests. Powers denied the allegations; Bishop McRaith arranged payment for three psychiatric hospitalizations for the woman. In 1999 she received a confidential settlement from the diocese. She died by suicide in May 2003. The woman's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the diocese and returned the settlement in November 2003. As of July 2006 the lawsuit was ongoing; a diocesan attorney stated that an investigation determined that the allegations were "frivolous." Powers retired in 2007. In November 2015 he remains active in the diocese.
Born: October 6, 1932
Owensboro bishop was Francis Ridgley Cotton (1937-1960), followed by Henry Joseph Soenneker (1961-1982).
|1961||St. Stephen's Cathedral||Owensboro||KY||6/6, 4/5||The Cathedral had a school with 731-601 students.|
|1959||1961||Our Lady of Mercy Hospital; Brescia College; St. Francis Academy||Owensboro||KY||These were chapels of St. Stephen's Cathedral.|
|1961||1962||St. Francis de Sales||Paducah||KY||3/3||St. Francis' had a school with 58 students.|
|1961||1962||St. Mary's Academy||Paducah||KY||This was a chapel of St. Francis de Sales.|
|1961||1962||St. Pius X||Paducah||KY||This was a mission of St. Francis de Sales.|
|1961||1962||Eddyville Penitentiary||Eddyville||KY||This was a station of St. Francis de Sales.|
|1962||1966||Holy Name of Jesus||Henderson||KY||
2/2, 2/3, 3/3
|Holy Name of Jesus had a grade school with 471-555 students, and a high school with 153-176 students.|
|1966||1967||SS Joseph and Paul||
• Powers was accused, along Revs. Delma Clemons and Robert Willett, of sexually abusing a girl between 1962-1970. The alleged victim was a student and parishioner of SS Joseph and Paul.
|KY||2/3||SS Joseph and Paul had a school with 426 students.|
|1966||1967||St. Joseph Monastery||Owensboro||KY||This was a monastery for nuns and a chapel of SS Joseph and Paul parish.|
|1967||1971||St. Pius X||Calvert City||KY||1/1||St. Pius had a school with 65 students until 1968.|
|1971||1973||St. Joseph||Bowling Green||KY||St. Joseph's had a school with 132-123 students.|
|1973||1974||St Charles||Livermore||KY||This was a mission of St. Sebastian in Calhoun.|
|1974||1976||St. Peter||Stanley||KY||1/1||St. Peter's had a school with 136-140 students.|
|1974||1976||St. Augustine||Reed||KY||This was a mission of St. Peter's in Stanley.|
Soenneker was succeeded as Owensboro bishop by John Jeremiah McRaith (1982-2009).
|1982||Precious Blood||Owensboro||KY||1/1||Precious Blood had a school with 169-267 students.|
|1984||1985||U.S. Military||Virginia Beach||VA||chaplain|
|1985||1987||U.S. Military||New York||NY||chaplain||NSA-Holy Loch, FPO|
|1989||1996||The Immaculate||Owensboro||KY||1/2, 1/1||Per a November 2003 wrongful death lawsuit filed by her family, Powers' accuser came forward to the diocese in 1995. Powers denied the allegations. After she came forward, Bishop McRaith arranged payment for three in-patient psychiatric hospitalizations for the woman.|
|1996||2003||St. Mary of the Woods||Whitesville||KY||1/2||
St. Mary's had a school with 260-206 students.
A diocesan attorney stated in 2006 that an investigation determined the allegations to be "frivolous. The attorney and chancellor both said that anything that may have happened between the accuser and priests was when she was age 18. Attorneys for the woman's estate claimed she was younger.
|2003||2007||St. Mary Magdalene||Owensboro||KY||This parish isn't listed in the Owensboro pages of the Directories.|
|2005||2007||St. Elizabeth||Curdsville||KY||1/1 Administrator|
|2007||Priest Personnel Committee||Owensboro||KY|
William Francis Medley replaced McRaith as bishop (2009-).
|2010||St. Elizabeth||Curdsville||KY||1/1 Retired|
|2009||2010||St. Alphonsus||Owensboro||KY||This parish isn't listed in the Owensboro pages of the Directories.|
|2010||2015||Retired||Owensboro||KY||Powers remains active in the diocese.|
Sources: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons 1960-2014)
• Suit Links Suicide, Priest Abuse, Owensboro Diocese Had Paid Woman, Family Says, By Gregory Hall, Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), November 7, 2003