Priest removed from Oklahoma ministry pending investigation of child sexual abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A Catholic priest in the Archiodese of Oklahoma City has been removed from ministry pending an investigation of an alleged sexual abuse of a minor.

The announcement was posted on the archdiocese's website stating the removal of Rev. James Mickus who serves as pastor of Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in Chandler and Saint Louis Catholic Church in Stroud.

We're told Archbishop Paul Coakley informed parishioners in person Sunday morning.

According to the statement, the allegation does not involve Mickus’s current parishes and is under review by the archdiocesan Review Board. The board was created in 2002 under the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” to review allegations of abuse and advise the archbishop.

The statement goes on to say the allegation also is being reviewed by McAfee and Taft, an independent firm hired by the archdiocese to review and investigate allegations of abuse by priests from 1960 to 2018.

An administrator will be assigned to the parish and mission.

In August,  Archbishop Coakley announced the archdiocese's plan for reviewing and reporting all past allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. Officials said the review would include all instances where credible allegations of child sexual abuse were reported, substantiated, prosecuted or admitted to among priests serving in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Diane Clay, director of communications for the Archdiocese, told News 4 on Sunday that the investigation into Mickus is the first one they have taken action on. Clay said at this point, law enforcement is not involved.

Online court records show Mickus filed a defamation lawsuit in 2002 against an accuser who claimed to have been sexually abused by the pastor 20 years prior, resulting in Mickus being temporarily removed from his position at a Catholic church in Enid. That lawsuit stated "These statements are false and [the] defendant knew that they were false."

The lawsuit was dismissed in 2003 after Mickus was reinstated. An independent Archdiocesan review board tasked with investigating the claim was unable to substantiate the allegation.

According to the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” requires the removal from ministry any priest, deacon or other religious upon determination of a credible claim of sexual misconduct with a minor.

The archdiocese provides an Abuse of Minors Pastoral Response Hotline for reporting abuse of a minor in the past or present by a member of the clergy or other church personnel, which can be reached at 405-720-9878. The archdiocesan victim assistance coordinator, a licensed professional counselor, will respond to calls to the pastoral hotline.

Mickus has served at these parishes:

Saint Joseph, Bison
Our Lady of Sorrows, Chandler
Saint Francis Xavier, Enid
Chaplain, Vance Air Force Base, Enid
Mission of Saint Ann, Fairview
Chaplain, Oklahoma State Reformatory, Granite
Mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Hollis
Chaplain, Lexington Correctional Center
Sacred Heart, Mangum
Saint Philip Neri, Midwest City
Saint Joseph, Norman
Christ the King, Oklahoma City
Saint Patrick, Oklahoma City
Saint Mary, Ponca City
Saint Louis, Stroud