Tennessee priest indicted on multiple sexual abuse charges

St. Philip Catholic Church, Franklin, Tenn. The associated pastor of St. Philip Catholic Church in Franklin, Tennessee, has been removed from his duties after being indicted on charges of sexual abuse. | Credit: Nheyob|/Wikimedia|, CC BY-SA 3.0

A Tennessee priest has been indicted by a grand jury on multiple child sexual abuse charges, Church officials have announced. 

Father Juan Carlos Garcia has been indicted by a grand jury in Williamson County, Tennessee, “on one count of continuous sexual abuse of a child, one count of aggravated sexual battery, four counts of sexual battery by an authority figure, and two counts of sexual battery,” the Diocese of Nashville said in a statement.

The diocese had taken the allegations to local police after being made aware of them in November. The priest was removed from his associate pastorship and from public ministry while the investigation was carried out, the diocese said. 

The priest was associate pastor at St. Philip Catholic Church in Franklin at the time the allegations were made against him. The diocese said a teenager in the parish “had made a report of improper touching” regarding the priest. 

A former FBI agent was brought in as an outside investigator to review the claims, the diocese said. The diocesan review board evaluated the results of that investigation and provided law enforcement with the findings of the inquiry.

Garcia was “expected to turn himself in to the Williamson County Jail for booking,” the diocese said last week. Law enforcement in Williamson County confirmed to CNA on Monday morning that the priest was in county custody. 

Garcia was ordained in 2020 and served at several parishes in the Nashville Diocese before his indictment. 

The case “will be sent to the Williamson County district attorney for review,” the diocese said in an earlier statement.

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