Catholic Bishop: Yell County priest permanently suspended for 'predatory behavior' against parishioners | Arkansas Blog

Monday, September 29, 2014

Catholic Bishop: Yell County priest permanently suspended for 'predatory behavior' against parishioners

Posted By on Mon, Sep 29, 2014 at 12:19 PM

A homily delivered by Bishop Anthony Taylor of the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock and posted yesterday on the website says that a priest from Yell County has been permanently removed from ministry after admitting what Taylor called "multiple acts of sexual misconduct with multiple adult victims." The post says Taylor delivered the homily in Russelville, Dardanelle and Danville on Sept. 27-28. You can read Taylor's note on the incident here. 

In the post, Taylor said that the diocese had received credible allegations of sexual misconduct against Father James Melnick the previous weekend. Melnick served at St. Augustine Catholic Church in Dardanelle and St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Danville. After learning of the allegations, Taylor said, the diocese stepped in to prevent him from celebrating mass in Danville that Sunday, then conducted interviews with several people in the parish.

Taylor writes: "We were able to interview some of his victims and verify multiple acts of sexual misconduct with multiple adult victims during the period of less than a year. Since there were multiple victims, we seem to be dealing with predatory behavior, not romance. Later Father Melnick admitted that this is true. So please do not blame his victims. They are victims. And moreover, they reported violations of the sacrament of reconciliation so serious as to require his permanent removal from ministry: absolution of persons with whom he had previously committed sins against the sixth commandment — and thus incurring grave canonical penalties that can only be lifted by the Holy See."

Taylor apologized for Melnick's conduct, saying the Catholic Church "would never allow a priest in [a] situation like this to ever function as a priest again." He called on people to not let the incident shake their faith, and asked for prayers for the victims, the church and Melnick before announcing Melnick's replacement, Father Mauricio Carrasco. In closing, he asked parishioners to contact the diocese if they or anyone they know has information about misconduct by Melnick. 

A blog Melnick runs online says that he is a 2005 graduate of Holy Trinity Seminary at the University of Dallas, and a 2009 graduate of the Pontifical North American College. 

We called the Danville Police Department and the Dardanelle Police Department, to see if they'd heard about the allegations against Melnick. Lt. Ken Jackson of Danville PD said that his department hadn't heard anything about the incident, though he "knew of" Melnick as a local priest. A call to the Dardanelle PD hasn't been returned yet. 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

More by David Koon

  • The class of 2016

    First-time candidates outraged by Trump's election off the bench and into state and local races.
    • Dec 14, 2017
  • DOJ: IBERIABANK will pay $11.6M over insurance certifications

    IBERIABANK, a financial institution headquartered in Lafayette, La. with branches all over Arkansas, will pay over $11.6 million for what the Department of Justice says were violations of the federal False Claims Act in which IBERIABANK falsely certified documents in order to obtain mortgage insurance on loans from the Federal Housing Administration.
    • Dec 8, 2017
  • Brake light repair event this Saturday hopes to foil questionable police stops

    On Saturday, a group is hoping to help low-income residents of Central Arkansas remove one major reason for questionable police stops by hosting an event where they will replace brakelight bulbs and tape up cracked taillights for free.
    • Dec 8, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016
  • Baseball fans have a new place to stay

    If you missed out on Razorback baseball home games this year because you couldn’t find a great place to stay, your problem is now solved: Staybridge Suites of Fayetteville is now fully renovated and located directly across from Baum Stadium, with free parking for hotel guests.
    • May 22, 2017
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation