African-American woman denied church job because priest's 'racist' dog 'doesn't like black people'

African-American woman denied church job because priest's 'racist' dog 'doesn't like black people'

COLLIERVILLE, TENNESSEE: Following an investigation, the Catholic Diocese of Memphis on Friday, August 16, rejected an African American woman's claim that she was denied a house cleaner’s job at a Catholic priest's living quarters because of racial bias, despite her being told that the priest's dog ‘doesn't like black people’.

The allegation was made by LaShundra Allen, who said that she arrived at the Catholic Church of the Incarnation in Collierville earlier this year only to be told that she could not work inside Father Jacek Kowal's accommodations because his German Shepherd, Caesar, hated African-American people, the Daily Mail reported. 

Allen was accompanied by Emily Weaver, a white housekeeper who used to work for Jacek. Weaver had brought Allen to Kowal's home with the intention of training her. 

Both the women claimed that a secretary at the church spoke to Kowal and then told them, "I'm sorry. We are not trying to be rude but the dog doesn't like black people."


After facing alleged discrimination, the pair filed a complaint with the Catholic Diocese of Memphis demanding an investigation into Kowal.

Bishop David P. Talley, who oversees the diocese, released a statement on Friday saying that accusations of racism were unproven and not true. 

Interestingly, the bishop quoted the secretary of the church in the statement as saying, "Father Jacek's dog is kinda racist."

Catholic Church of the Incarnation congratulated Father Jacek Kowal on receiving his U.S. citizenship in April. (Source: Facebook)

"Although the parish staff member's choice of words was highly unfortunate and imprecise - they were not motivated by racial animus," Talley said.

"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."


He added that the parish staff feared for Allen and Weaver's safety because they knew that Kowal's dog was out of his crate when the two women arrived to clean and that "attempting to crate the dog would be dangerous when its owner was not present."

"The staff were aware that years ago the dog had been threatened by a person who happened to be African American, causing the dog to be somewhat more agitated initially around strangers with darker skin until the dog gets to know them," he said.

As a result, the secretary denying Allen entry into the priest's quarters stemmed from the fact that "the replacement employee who was planning to enter the rectory was an African-American person the dog had never met."

Talley said that Kowal had previously employed an African American housekeeper. 

"The cleaning company employees interpreted this incident as a pretext by Fr Kowal, motivated by a desire not to have an African American housekeeper. This is simply not true," he said.


"After our thorough investigation, I find these particular allegations of racial discrimination to be unfounded." 

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 Catholic church denies claims that black housekeeper was denied job because of priest's 'racist' dog