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Nick Sandmann | Bishop Joseph Foy

Update Jan. 22, 2:15 P.M.: The Diocese of Covington headed by Bishop Roger Joseph Foys issued a new statement today. Read full report on LifeSiteNews: Covington bishop speaks of ‘corrective action’, offers no apology to mistreated boys

COVINGTON, Kentucky, January 21, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – A Catholic bishop has issued a letter of condemnation against the Catholic students of his diocese who were at the center of a media firestorm this weekend over what turned out to be false and slanderous reports that the students had mocked Native Americans outside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. 

Urge Covington bishop to apologize for condemning pro-life teens. Sign the petition here.

Bishop Roger Joseph Foys of Covington, Kentucky, along with the Covington Catholic High School administration succumbed to the mainstream media's leftist spin of the Friday, January 19 altercation, issuing a joint statement of condemnation

“We condemn the actions of the Covington Catholic High School students towards Nathan Phillips specifically, and Native Americans in general, Jan. 18, after the March for Life, in Washington, D.C.,” the January 19 statement read. 

“We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips. This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.”

The bishop and school administration said the matter was “being investigated.” They added that they would “take appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.”


The message still appeared on the Diocese of Covington’s website as of this writing, despite the fact that the mainstream media’s account of the January 18 event had been entirely debunked by Saturday evening with video evidence proving the boys' innocence. 

At the January 18 March for Life, the group of high school students from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, Kentucky, was filmed in what looked like a face to face altercation with a Native American protestor. Left-leaning media went into high gear, portraying the event as racist. 

“A crowd of students surrounds the Native American man, laughing and filming on cell phones. One boy, wearing a red Make America Great Again hat, stands just inches away from the man's drum, staring at him with a wide smile,” reported NPR. 

Video evidence that surfaced later, however, shows that it was Native American Nathan Phillip who first approached the group and attempted to provoke the young people to react. 

It turns out that Nick Sandmann, the young man at the center of the controversy, was actually attempting to “defuse the situation” by his stance in front of the Native American man. He wrote about the incident:

The protestor everyone has seen in the video began playing his drum as he waded into the crowd, which parted for him. I did not see anyone try to block his path. He locked eyes with me and approached me, coming within inches of my face. He played his drum the entire time he was in my face.

I never interacted with this protestor. I did not speak to him. I did not make any hand gestures or other aggressive moves. To be honest, I was startled and confused as to why he had approached me. We had already been yelled at by another group of protestors, and when the second group approached I was worried that a situation was getting out of control where adults were attempting to provoke teenagers.

I believed that by remaining motionless and calm, I was helping to diffuse [sic] the situation. I realized everyone had cameras and that perhaps a group of adults was trying to provoke a group of teenagers into a larger conflict. I said a silent prayer that the situation would not get out of hand.

A petition is calling on news outlets that misreported the event to issue an apology. 

“I'm calling for an immediate apology from all the news outlets surrounding the events that took place in D.C. surrounding Covington Catholic High School. One sided journalism, along with shifty video evidence immediately had a nation believe that young men from CCH were engaging with and harassing a Native American veteran in D.C.,” the petition states. 

“This is furthest from the truth, and there is video evidence to prove it,” it adds. 

The petition has been signed by 9,000 people as of this writing. 

Many mainstream outlets that covered the original event have already issued updates and/or retractions. 

Lila Rose, who leads the pro-life organization Live Action, called on Bishop Foys to watch the full coverage of the event and “retract” his condemnation. ​

She had a similar message for Louisville’s Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the former president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops who also condemned the students.

She called on critics to seek understanding before passing public judgment on “Catholic young people” and to be “quick to apologize.”

Contact information for respectful communications: 

Bishop Roger Joseph Foy
Diocese of Covington 
1125 Madison Avenue
Covington, Kentucky 41011

(859) 392-1500 

Email: [email protected]

Use online contact form here.