SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -A case of mistaken identity is directly impacting a local religous leader.
Father Joseph Smith has spent his life building a good name. He’s a native Savannahian, he’s been a priest for 23 years, and is now a chaplain at St. Joseph’s Candler Hospital.
However, his good name has become tarnished with a case of mistaken identity. The Catholic Church recently released a list of names of those credibly accused of sexual abuse and on that list? One Joseph Smith.
Father Smith says that the Joseph Smith on the list was “A priest who died two years before I was born.”
The list was only partially copied in some media and Father Joseph was put in a spotlight not of his making.
“The question I’d get-is that you?” Father Joseph said.
At the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist, a group of Catholic Men gathered to express support for Father Joe and bring attention to the fact that this man had no connection to the man credibly accused. For the men’s group there’s a larger issue beyond Father Joe. They feel that the tragic actions of a few have called into question the reputations of men and women who have stood by them throughout their lives.
“These men were with us through every phase of life,” says Tommy Brunson, a member of the men’s group.
Father Joe cautions against the rush to judgment of a sensationalized media environment and hopes, simply, that history gets it right.
“I’d like to be remembered for what I did,” said Father Joseph. “Not what I didn’t do.”