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Archdiocese suspends priest charged in underage sex sting

Father James Patrick Grady.
Archdiocese of St. Louis
Father James Patrick Grady.

By Rachel Lippmann

St. Louis, MO – The Archdiocese of St. Louis has suspended a priest at St. Raphael The Archangel in south St. Louis following his arrest on federal sex trafficking charges.

57-year-old James Patrick Grady was arrested Wednesday when he traveled to St. Louis County to meet what he thought was a 16-year-old girl he had been offered for sexual activity.

Archbishop Robert Carlson said Grady will be removed from the Archdiocese and likely defrocked if he is found guilty of the charge. Carlson urged St. Raphael parishioners to contact the police and federal authorities with any information they might have about past accusations against Father Grady, who was ordained in 1977 and has been at the parish for about four years. Carlson said he saw nothing in a quick review of Grady's file that would indicate the priest had ever been accused of any past sexual crime.

Carlson said he will be at the parish's Saturday Mass to meet with church members and "restore the bonds of trust" broken by the incident. He said he plans to review the policies the Archdiocese has in place to prevent such incidents, saying the current ones are not working.

Father Grady allegedly responded to an advertisement posted by undercover officers that offered young females of indeterminate age for sexual activities.

Grady was arrested when he tried to leave the house where he was scheduled to meet with the girl. According to the affidavit, he admitted to sending the e-mails and said he responded because he was "curious."

Grady is the third person to be charged as a result of the operation. A 43-year-old St. Charles man, Matthew S. Nichol, was indicted on federal charges July 16th. And 24-year-old David P. Hawkey of Florissant was charged earlier this week, also with one count of attempted sex trafficking of children.