St. Augustine Diocese says retired priest under investigation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – As parishioners celebrated the Christmas holiday, the Diocese of St. Augustine quietly announced multiple allegations against a retired priest.

Father David Terrence Morgan, 71, was a patriarchal vicar at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Augustine when he left for a six-month sabbatical in July 2018. Records also show Morgan was a religion teacher at Bishop Kenny High School in the 1980s.

More than two years following his sabbatical, the Diocese of St. Augustine published in the parish bulletin that allegations had been raised against Morgan. The diocese wrote they found the allegations have a “semblance of truth” based on an initial review. The note posted on Dec. 27 stated that “guilt has not been determined.” The diocese said allegations were reported to police and the allegations are under canonical investigation.

After leaving in the summer of 2018, he was never listed as parish staff again.

In the July 2018 announcement, Morgan wrote: “With Bishop Estevez’s permission and encouragement, I am beginning an intense one-semester retreat/sabbatical this month” adding that he would have “spiritual director and professional counselors guide me into the next phase of my life.”

The Diocese of St. Augustine wouldn’t say whether Morgan’s sabbatical coincided with the diocese becoming aware of allegations against the priest. After requests via email, the Diocese would not specify how many allegations Morgan is facing or the nature of the allegations.

News4Jax has requested police reports from the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office.

“We are not releasing additional information to the bulletin announcement until the canonical investigation has been completed,” Kathleen Bagg, communications director for the Diocese, said in an email.

The announcement marks the 14th priest that the Diocese has publicly confirmed is facing allegations, though the church cautioned it has not deemed Morgan is guilty of anything.

Emails and phone calls to Morgan were not immediately returned Monday.

About the Author: