The Catholic Diocese of Memphis has dismissed claims of racism against one of their priests as “unfounded” after two local house cleaners alleged he used his dog to keep a black woman from doing her job.
“After a thorough investigation, we are certain that the claims of racial bias and discrimination are unfounded, and that Fr. Kowal did nothing wrong,” Bishop of Memphis in Tennessee, The Most Reverend David P. Talley said in a statement Friday.
The cleaners alleged that the priest, the Rev. Jacek Kowal, who leads the Catholic Church of the Incarnation in Collierville, and owns a dog that becomes agitated by African Americans and people with darker skin, prevented one of them who is black from doing a cleaning job in the church’s rectory.
According to a letter previously sent by attorney Maureen Holland, her clients, Emily Weaver, who is white, and LaShundra Allen, who is black, are employees of Master Building Service Contractors, which also does house cleaning for Kowal.
On Friday May 3, Weaver, who normally cleans Kowal’s home, took Allen to the rectory to train as her replacement. It was then that the women were allegedly told by the pastor’s secretary, “I’m sorry, we are not trying to be rude, but the dog doesn’t like black people” and further noted that “Fr. Jacek’s dog is kinda racist.”
In his statement on Friday however, Talley explained that the dogs discomfort with dark skinned people stems from being threatened years ago by “a person who happened to be African American.” Warning the cleaner about the dog, he said, was simply a protective measure.
“At the time the cleaning company employees came to the office, the parish staff knew that Fr. Kowal’s dog was in the rectory outside of his crate. They were aware that the dog was very protective of his home, and there was a risk that the dog would bite a stranger entering the rectory without his owner present,” Talley said.
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SOURCE: Christian Post, Leonardo Blair