Fr. Walter Emala

Father Walter Emala

Ordained: 1952
Status: Settled
Died: 02/20/2008
Diocese: Diocese of Memphis TN

The Diocese of Nashville was aware of Father Walter Emala’s misconduct with boys in at least 1959. Parents were informed in the 1960s by a diocesan official to keep their children away from him, and in 1968, Father Walter Emala was given an ultimatum to leave Tennessee for an extended leave of absence or retire and leave the state.

Father Walter Emala took leave and moved to Baltimore, MD. Memphis diocese informed Baltimore that Emala was a priest in good standing, and he was assigned to a parish in 1972. He was removed from the Baltimore assignment in 1975 after allegations of child sexual abuse emerged. Emala sought faculties in the Diocese of Wilmington, DE, with Memphis Bishop Dozier’s recommendation, but his request was denied.

Emala was allowed to work part-time in the Diocese of Harrisburg, PA, in 1978, although faculties had not been granted. Complaints of his misconduct with boys surfaced in 1985, and he was subsequently removed. Prior to 1988, Emala falsely presented himself as a priest for 20 years in East Baltimore, even though he had no faculties. He was involved as a chaplain with several organizations and counseled mostly boys.

Multiple individuals accused Emala of sexual abuse, including rape, in the 1970s-1980s. At least one victim was as young as 7 years old, and at least one settlement was made. He was included in the Baltimore diocese’s 9/2002 list. Emala died on 2/20/2008 in Baltimore. His name was included on the Harrisburg diocese’s list on 8/1/2018, with a note that he was seen kissing a minor on the lips in the early 1980s. Emala was also included on the Knoxville diocese’s list as of 3/6/2020. (The Knoxville diocese was created from Nashville in 1988.) He was further included in the 4/5/2023 MD Attorney General’s Report.