OWENSBORO, Kentucky — A Catholic priest who was often seen on the bench alongside Rick Pitino’s Kentucky and Louisville basketball teams has been suspended on allegations he sexually abused a minor in the 1980s.
Father Joseph Edward Bradley was “temporarily suspended” by the Diocese of Owensboro, according to a statement Friday. The diocese received a report that he had sexually abused a minor “in the 1980s while he was principal at Owensboro Catholic High School.”
Bradley was a fixture on the University of Kentucky bench during the Pitino coaching era in the 1990s, The Lexington Herald-Leader reported. Bradley also served as an unofficial chaplain to Pitino’s University of Louisville teams.
Bradley, 75, retired from ministry in 2011 but has been the volunteer chaplain at Owensboro Catholic High School since then, the diocese said.
The diocese said it immediately reported the allegation of abuse that it received Tuesday to local prosecutors and its Diocesan Review Board.
The diocese said Bradley is suspended until the investigation is complete.
“Our policies require that any priest accused of inappropriate conduct with a minor be suspended to assure the safety of children and youth,” Owensboro Bishop William F. Medley said in the statement. “Our commitment is to take seriously any allegation brought to us while at the same time affording Fr. Bradley a presumption of innocence until more information is available.”
Bradley became a close friend of Pitino after they met in 1992 at Pitino’s 40th birthday party.
Bradley performed the marriage ceremonies of several former Wildcat basketball players and officiated at the funeral of Cawood Ledford.