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Former Brewton priest among those credibly accused of sexual misconduct

A now-deceased Catholic priest whose service included St. Maurice Parish in Brewton is among those on a list of those “who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct involving minors” released by the Archdiocese of Mobile on Thursday.
There were 12 names on the list, including:
• The late Fr. John J. Walton, who was credibly accused of misconduct in the 1970s, according to the Archdiocese. His pastoral assignments included St. Margaret Parish, Bayou La Batre; US Army Reserve, Military Archdiocese; St. Maurice Parish, Brewton; Christ the King Parish, Andalusia; St. Joan of Arc Parish, Mobile; St. Pius X Parish, Mobile; and Holy Name Parish, Semmes.
A second list released by the Archdiocese included the names of 17 men who are members of Religious Orders who have served in the Archdiocese of Mobile, both clergy and non-clergy, who have been credibly accused of sexual misconduct with minors.
In a letter included with the lists, The Most Rev. Thomas J. Rodi, Archbishop of Mobile, wrote that each personnel file was examined in the compilation of the lists.
“Since 2003 there has been a written policy regarding complaints of sexual abuse of minors: there is an office for the protection of minors and adults which receives complaints, accusations are reported to civil authority, and a review board composed mostly of lay people not employed by the archdiocese reviews the cases and makes recommendations. Before 2003, however, there were a variety of ways in which accusations were received and investigated and this has presented challenges in compiling these lists,” he wrote.
“These lists have been shared with the Office of the State Attorney General and with the Office of the District Attorney of Mobile County. But, more importantly, it is being shared with you, the people of our archdiocese. Some of you may be surprised to see on these lists the name of a priest who served in your parish and whom you knew well. I pray that God will give you peace of mind and heart.”
The archbishop apologized for the “devastating harm done by clerics and religious who have abused the little ones.”
“I ask the forgiveness of all victims of abuse as I entrust you to the love and mercy of the Lord. I deeply believe the Lord is with us,” he wrote. “After all, we are His Church. Despite our failings, sins, and unfaithfulness, He remains faithful to us and leads us, individually and as a Church, to new life. May His healing love be with all of us.”
He also encouraged anyone who wished to report a cleric or religious not included in the list to contact the Office for the Protection of Minors and Adults, 251-434-1559.