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Priest removed from ministry still celebrated mass in diocese

Posted: 4:44 PM, Feb 01, 2019
Updated: 2019-02-04 11:35:35-05
Eunice News, 1993

KATC Investigates has uncovered Fr. Joseph Alexander celebrated at least two Masses in the Diocese of Lafayette since he was placed on leave in 2002.  

News reports indicate he was the celebrant at a funeral at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Lafayette in 2015, and co-celebrant at another funeral in 2013 at St. Genevieve. 

In 2002, Alexander was removed from his post as pastor at St. Anthony’s Church in Eunice after he was accused of sexually abusing a teenager 40 years prior in Kentucky. According to a 2002 report by The Advocate, then-Bishop Edward O’Donnell said that Alexander acknowledged his involvement.

Alexander was one of the priests featured in KATC’s special report The List .

Friday, the diocese revealed Alexander is now facing new allegations of sexual abuse of a minor from his time at St. Anthony’s in Eunice. The allegation has been reported to police. In the release, the diocese says Alexander was “removed from ministry” by Bishop O’Donnell in 2002. The most recent edition of the catholic directory lists him as being on administrative leave. 

KATC has reached out to the diocese for comment. Our questions: Why was Alexander allowed to celebrate mass? Is he on administrative leave? Was he removed from ministry? What exactly does administrative leave entail?  Is he allowed to celebrate mass in the future? This story will be updated when we get answers.