Warren County D.A. investigating sex allegations claim

Published 7:04 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Warren County District Attorney Ricky Smith said his office is investigating a claim of alleged sexual misconduct with a minor by Rick Caldwell, who had been serving as a deacon at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Vicksburg.

The allegation of misconduct was sent to Smith’s office by the Catholic Diocese of Jackson, which investigated a complaint against Caldwell involving an incident that occurred in the 1980s, before he was ordained a deacon. Caldwell has been removed as a deacon, according to the Diocese.

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Diocesan officials announced Monday they were forwarding the information against Caldwell and a former Franciscan brother to law enforcement. Maureen Smith, spokeswoman for the Diocese, said investigations of Caldwell and former Franciscan Paul West found the allegations were credible. She said the letter about Caldwell was sent to Smith.

Smith said he received the letter about the complaint from the Diocese Friday, and would contact the Diocese for more information. He declined to discuss the contents of the letter or the allegations, citing the investigation.

Caldwell, who has not been arrested or charged with a crime, was contacted Tuesday, but declined to comment.

Caldwell was ordained a deacon in 2016. Besides serving at St. Mary’s, he also assisted at the city’s other Catholic churches. He was removed as a deacon June 24.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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