Diocese of Venice Priest Investigated for Sexual Abuse

The Rev. Jean Ronald Joseph, a priest of the Diocese of Venice (Florida) is being investigated for sexual abuse that occurred 15 years ago when Fr. Joseph was assigned to St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Fort Myers. At the time of the abuse, the victim was a minor.
Bishop Dewane asked Joseph to remove himself from ministry and Joseph apparently complied with the Bishop’s request. At the time of the abuse, the Diocese of Venice was run by the Diocese’s first bishop John J. Nevins, a former priest of the Archdiocese of Miami. Nevins retired in 2007 when Bishop Dewane assumed leadership of the southwest Florida diocese.
Since its founding in 1984, bishopaccountability.org, an online database of priests accused of sexual abuse, lists 9 Venice priests accused of sexual misconduct including Edward McLoughlin, Jose Mena, William Romero, Neil Flemming, and Carl Bartholomew. The Diocese of Venice had received reports about McLoughlin for years, including some from doctors who warned Bishop Nevins that McLoughlin should not work around children. In spite of the warnings, McLoughlin continued working as a priest and abusing minors until a lawsuit was brought. Then, the Diocese of Venice arranged and paid for McLoughlin to move to Ireland.
This appears to be the first time Bishop Dewane has had to confront a new allegation of priest sexual abuse. In his news release, the Diocese speaks of the pain of the priest and the Church without acknowledging the pain of the victim, “These are very painful times for Father Joseph, the lay faithful as well as the clergy.”