Bill Casey's mug shot, after his arrest by Greene County authorities
Father Bill Casey: photo via Notre Dame church website
Warren Tucker, who said he was abused by Father Bill Casey, feels the arrest of Casey marked a great day for justice and for the victims of clergy sex abuse around the world.
"I feel the arrest is very important and proves to others that justice delayed is still justice," Warren told 10News. "I'm not going to be having any parties over it. At the same time, I feel very vindicated by it. I thank the McDowell County Sheriff's Office in North Carolina and the Greene County Sheriff's Department in Tennessee for not only doing their jobs, but understanding the importance of this for so many people."
Tucker said he wants Casey to stand trial and be punished. The victim also hopes his own story inspires other sexual abuse victims to seek help and expose their perpetrators.
A retired priest accused of repeated sexual abuse of a child decades ago in Tennessee and once in North Carolina has been taken into police custody.
Father Bill Casey has been suspended from any priestly activities for life, the Knoxville Diocese said Thursday, after admitting to sexually abusing a young parishioner from 1975 to 1980.
The victim, Warren Tucker, came forward with the allegation last week.
Diocese of Knoxville Chancellor Sean Smith confirmed that Casey is now in police custody, after being taken in early Monday morning. Casey lives in Greene County.
A criminal investigation had previously been underway against Casey in McDowell County, North Carolina.
The Greene County complaint on which Casey was arrested said he was a "fugitive from justice by having an outstanding arrest warrant out of McDowell County North Carolina for first degree sexual offense."
The complaint indicates the McDowell County Sheriff's Department will seek to extradite Casey to North Carolina to face trial.
It also indicates Casey will waive an extradition hearing. As for when he'll be transported to North Carolina, that's not yet clear.
The Diocese of Knoxville released a statement around noon Monday:
Greene County officials took Father Bill Casey into custody early on Monday, April 19, said Deacon Sean Smith, chancellor of the Diocese of Knoxville.
Last week Warren Tucker contacted the diocese to say that Father Casey, a priest of the Diocese of Knoxville, had sexually abused him in the 1970s. The following day Father Casey told Bishop Richard Stika there was "credibility" to the accusations.
In a letter that was to be read last weekend at all East Tennessee parishes, Bishop Stika wrote, "I ask you to join me in praying for all victims of abuse throughout the world. I also ask you to pray for Father Casey. God's mercy knows no bounds, but for Father Casey, who must now answer to the justice that is due, we pray that his own prayers and penance will bring divine assistance in bringing healing to the victims and to our local Church."
In the letter, Bishop Stika apologized to Mr. Tucker and to anyone else who may have been harmed by Father Casey or by anyone in authority in the diocese. "I applaud Mr. Tucker and all the brave men and women-the victims and their families-for seeking healing and justice, and I strongly encourage any victim of abuse to come forward."