17 Active Bishops Accused of Complicity with Abusive Priests

They violate standard of child protection defined by Pope Francis

On July 7, 2014, Pope Francis made the first vow by any pope to hold bishops accountable for preventing sexual abuse by clergy. At a private Mass attended by six victims of sexually abusive clergy, he said, “All bishops must carry out their pastoral ministry with the utmost care in order to help foster the protection of minors, and they will be held accountable.”

The most meaningful measure of the Pope's commitment to bishop accountability will be whether he removes culpable church officials. The task will not be easy.

To deepen understanding of the challenge facing Pope Francis, is building a database of complicit bishops who are still in office. We begin with this sample list of seventeen active bishops known to have violated the pope’s standard of exercising the “utmost care” to "help foster the protection of minors." None of the fifteen has yet been disciplined by the pope.

Our list includes four cardinals in the Curia, two of them close advisors to Francis. Their inclusion in this list of child-protection violators underscores both the difficulty and urgent necessity of the task facing the Pope. Disciplining such powerful colleagues will be politically tough, but for Pope Francis to make good on his promise, accountability must begin at the top. Diocesan bishops cannot be expected to comply with standards that Vatican officials have ignored with impunity.

Cardinal Philippe Barbarin | Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid (Chile) | Bishop Robert Joseph Cunningham (United States) | Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa, P. Schönstatt (Chile) | Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard (Belgium) |Archbishop Robert Jean Louis Le Gall, O.S.B. (France) | Bishop Yves Le Saux, l'Emm (France) | Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki (United States) | Archbishop Francisco Javier Martínez Fernández (Spain) | Bishop Leonardo Medroso (Philippines) | Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller (Germany) | Bishop William Francis Murphy (United States) | Archbishop John Joseph Myers | Cardinal George Pell (Australia) | Archbishop Juan Alberto Puiggari (Argentina), Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe (Italy) |Archbishop Philip Wilson (Australia)




Cardinal Philippe Barbarin
Archdiocese of Lyon (-Vienne), France

Dec 1977 Ordained Priest of Créteil, France
Oct 1988 Appointed Bishop of Moulins, France
Jul 2002 Appointed Archbishop of Lyon (-Vienne), France
Oct 2003 Elevated to Cardinal
In March 2016, amidst calls for his resignation, a criminal investigation of Barbarin by French authorities was begun, related to the alleged cover-up of abuse of boy scouts by admitted perpetrator Rev. Bernard Preynat 1986-1991. Preynat was removed briefly by then-Cardinal Albert Decourtray in 1991, then allowed to return to work with children after he "repented." In 2007 Barbarin promoted Preynat to an administrative position whereby he helped run 6 dioceses and had access to more children. Barbarin reportedly was aware of Preynat's abuse history but said he thought the priest had reformed. It wasn't until 2015 that he removed Preynat from active ministry. Barabarin has also been accused of failing to remove two other priests with histories of perptrating sex abuse. In August 2016 prosecutors dropped the case against Barbarin, citing insufficient evidence.

Bishop Juan de la Cruz Barros Madrid
Diocese of Osorno, Chile

Jun 1984 Ordained Priest of Santiago, Chile
Apr 1995 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Valparaíso, Chile
Nov 2000 Appointed Bishop of Iquique, Chile
Oct 2004 Appointed Bishop of Chile, Military
Jan 2015 Appointed Bishop of Osorno, Chile

Bishop Barros was selected by Pope Francis in January 2015 to head the Osorno diocese despite allegations of Barros’s complicity in the crimes of his former mentor, Rev. Fernando Karadima. A previously revered priest in Chile, Karadima was found guilty by the Vatican in 2011 of sexual abuse of minors. Three victims attest that Barros witnessed Karadima’s abuse of them, and as secretary to the Santiago archbishop in the early 1980s, Barros allegedly destroyed a letter from parishioners complaining of Karadima's misconduct. In March 2015, Concepción archbishop Fernando Chomalí Garib met with Pope Francis. In an interview, Chomalí indicated that the pope was not moved by evidence that Barros concealed Karadima's crimes. "The pope told me he had analyzed the situation in detail and found no reason” to reverse his decision, Chomalí said. Francis has received letters urging him to rescind the appointment from 1,300 church members, nearly half of the Chilean parliament, and most of the diocese’s priests. Barros's installation was interrupted by protests, and members of the pope's own abuse commission have urged the pope to reverse course.

Bishop Robert Joseph Cunningham
Bishop of Syracuse, New York, United States

May 1969 Ordained Priest of Buffalo, New York, United States
March 2004 Appointed Bishop of Ogdensburg, New York, United States
April 2009 Appointed Bishop of Syracuse, New York, United States
A Syracuse newspaper reported September 2015 that when asked by a plaintiff's attorney if a child sodomized by a priest has sinned, Bishop Cunningham stated, "The boy is culpable." The exchange occurred in a 2011 deposition in response to a federal lawsuit filed by a man claiming he was sexually abused as a 13-year-old by Syracuse priest Rev. Thomas Neary. Cunningham released a statement September 13, 2015 attempting to clarify his remarks. Cunningham has refused to release the names of priests of the diocese who have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse. Survivors of clergy sexual abuse planned to start an online petition calling for Cunningham's resignation, which they hoped to give to Pope Francis during his upcoming visit to New York.

Cardinal Francisco Errázuriz Ossa,
P. Schönstatt

Archbishop Emeritus of Santiago, Chile
Member of the Council of Cardinals

Jul 1961 Ordained Priest
1974 Appointed Superior General of Institute of Schönstatt Fathers
Dec 1990 Appointed Secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life
Sep 1996 Appointed Archbishop of of Valparaíso, Chile
Apr 1998 Appointed Archbishop of Santiago, Chile
Feb 2001 Elevated to Cardinal
Dec 2010 Retired as Appointed Archbishop of Santiago, Chile
Apr 2013 Appointed Member of the Council of Cardinals
Cardinal Errázuriz refused for years to act on allegations of sexual abuse by a powerful priest, Rev. Fernando Karadima. In 2003, Errázuriz received a letter from one Karadima victim but did nothing. When told in 2004 of another victim, the cardinal opened an investigation but then suspended it for three years. Karadima himself claimed the archbishop had protected him, by paying 500 million pesos to halt publication of a book alleging that Karadima was a pedophile. The cardinal finally sent Karadima's case to the CDF in June 2010, shortly after four victims went public with their story, having received no response to formal complaints they had filed with the church a year earlier. In January 2011, the Vatican declared Karadima guilty of sexual abuse of minors and assigned him to a life of prayer and penance. In November 2011, a Chilean judge dismissed the criminal case against Karadima because of SOL but detailed his abuses in a searing 84-page ruling, calling the allegations "truthful and reliable." In 2013, Pope Francis appointed Errázuriz to the Council of Cardinals, despite knowing of the cardinal's protection of Karadima. Errázuriz came under fire in September 2015 when emails between him and his successor, Cardinal Ricardo Ezzati, were leaked to the press. The emails, written in 2013 and 2014, show the two prelates discussing trying to prevent well-known Karadima survivor, Juan Carlos Cruz, from being named to the Pontifical Commission for the Prevention of Abuse.

Archbishop Robert Jean Louis Le Gall, O.S.B.
Archdiocese of Toulouse (-Saint Bertrand de Comminges-Rieux), France

Aug 1974 Ordained Priest of Order of Saint Benedict
Oct 2001 Appointed Bishop of Mende, France
Jul 2006 Appointed Archbishop of Toulouse (-Saint Bertrand de Comminges-Rieux), France
In 2006 Toulouse priest Rev. Dominique Spina was convicted for the 1993 rape of a 16-year-old. After completing his sentence, Spina was appointed by archbishop Le Gall in 2009 to serve as a parish pastor. Le Gall informed Spina's parishioners of his criminal history; few of them objected. Le Gall removed Spina in May 2016 after media attention. The Vatican decided not to laicize Spina and in January 2017 he is in active ministry, restricted from work with children.
Bishop Yves Le Saux, Comm. l'Emm.
Diocese of Le Mans, France
Jun 1986 Ordained Priest of Autun (-Chalon-sur-Saone-Macon-Cluny), France
Nov 2008 Appointed Bishop of Le Mans, France
Despite complaints in 1995 from the family of a young boy alleging sexual abuse by Rev. Max de Guibert, Le Saux's predecessor, Bishop Jacques Faivre, kept de Guibert in ministry. In 2009 Le Saux transferred de Guibert to a hospital chaplaincy where he would not have contact with children. In 2014 Le Saux assigned de Guibert to a parish, keeping in place the ban on the priest's involvement with children. Per news reports, de Guibert nonetheless had close contact with families, and organized children's camps. In June 2015 de Guibert was arrested for the rape and sexual assault of a minor under age 15. He has been accused of having abused up to twelve boys, between 1993 and 2007.

Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard
Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium

Jul 1964 Ordained Priest of Namur {Namen}, Belgium
Feb 1991 Appointed Bishop of Namur {Namen}, Belgium
Jan 2010 Appointed Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel {Malines-Brussels}, Belgium
Feb 2010 Appointed Bishop of Belgium, Military
Archbishop Léonard was ordered by a civil court in April 2015 to pay a victim 10,000 euros because of the bishop’s “misconduct” in concealing the crimes of Rev. Gilbert Hubermont, a Nintendo-playing priest in the Namurs diocese who raped 14-year-old Joel Devillet in the late 1980s. In 1991, Devillet reported his abuse to Léonard, the newly appointed bishop of Namurs. Léonard transferred Hubermont to other parishes, where he molested more children. Léonard has said that punishing abusive priests who have resigned is a “sort of vengeance” that is not “humane” and that the offender, not the church, should compensate victims.

Archbishop Jerome Edward Listecki
Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

May 1975 Ordained Priest Priest of Chicago, Illinois, United States
Nov 2000 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, Illinois, United States
Dec 2004 Appointed Bishop of La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States
Nov 2009 Appointed Archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States

Listecki filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2011, saying the move would ensure fair compensation to victims. The filing froze more than a dozen active lawsuits accusing the archdiocese of committing fraud in its concealment of sexually abusive priests. By the February 2012 bar date, 570 victims had filed claims of child sexual abuse. In addition to clergy already publicly accused, the claimants identified in sealed documents at least 75 priests and 25 other archdiocesan employees who had not previously been named publicly as abusers. In 2013, a court-ordered release of 6,000 pages of archdiocesan abuse documents revealed a 2007 letter from Listecki’s predecessor, Timothy Dolan, seeking Vatican approval to transfer $57M in archdiocesan funds to a special cemetery trust that Dolan had established a month earlier. Dolan explained that the new trust would make the money inaccessible to claimants. "I foresee an improved protection of these funds from any legal claim and liability," Dolan wrote. Vatican official Cardinal Claudio Hummes replied a month later, approving the plan. In 2014, victims rejected a reorganization plan by Listecki that proposed a settlement of $4 million to be disbursed to only around 125 of the 570 victims who had filed claims. Citing SOL and other reasons, the archbishop argued that the remaining 445 or so victims were “ineligible” for compensation. In March 2015, in a significant legal setback for the archdiocese, a federal appeals court ruled that the victims could go forward with a lawsuit seeking to make the archdiocese's now-$60M cemetery trust fund available as potential compensation. In July 2015 Listecki asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the March ruling. In August 2015 the archdiocese announced a $21M settlement to be divided among 330 of the 570-plus survivors who filed claims. Another 119 would receive $2K apiece, and 124 would receive nothing. Other victims called the offer inadequate and asserted the need for a review of the 570-plus claims as well as the release of the claims under seal so the 100-plus offenders identified in them would be known. Listecki's $21M to victims is close to the $19.75M total that the archdiocese admits to spending on bankruptcy-related legal fees. Creditors' committee will vote on whether to accept the settlement at a November 2015 hearing.

Archbishop Francisco Javier
Martínez Fernández

Archdiocese of Granada, Spain

Apr 1972 Ordained Priest of Madrid, Spain
Mar 1985 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Madrid, Spain
Mar 1996 Appointed Bishop of Córdoba, Spain
Mar 2003 Appointed Archbishop of Granada, Spain
In May 2015, Archbishop Martínez received an ultimatum from a Granada criminal judge: submit documents about archdiocese's past handling of 10 accused priests, as court had already demanded seven times, or face charges. The case concerns an alleged priest sex ring that has operated under the archbishop's watch. The "clan Romanones," a 'conservative spiritualist' group of priests and laypeople named for Granada priest, Rev. Román Martínez, allegedly was involved in orgies and the sexual abuse of minors at a hilltop villa. In Summer 2014, a 24-year-old man, an Opus Dei lay member, wrote to Pope Francis about being raped and sexually assaulted as a minor from 2004 to 2007 by Father Román and two other priests. Seven other Granada priests, also followers of Father Román, had witnessed or known of the abuse. The pope contacted the archdiocese, and Archbishop Martínez removed the three abusers but kept the seven complicit priests in ministry: these priests were victims too, he reportedly told the complainant. In November 2014, Father Román and three others were arrested, and in January 2015, a Spanish judge indicted Father Román, nine other Granada priests, and two laypeople for sexually abusing the boy or being complicit in the abuse. In February 2015, the judge dropped charges against all defendants except Father Román because of statute of limitations. On behalf of the victim, the organization known as Prodeni or Asociación por los Derechos del Niño (Association for the Rights of the Child) appealed the dismissal of the charges against the 11, and the appeals judge ordered the archdiocese to produce canonical and other files about the ten implicated priests. In September 2015 the appeals court, while stating it assumes the veracity of the allegations, upheld the earlier decision to prosecute only Román. It also ruled in that the archdiocese can be held civily liable.

Bishop Leonardo Medroso
Diocese of Tagbilaran, Philippines

Mar 1963 Ordained Priest of Palo, Philippines
Dec 1986 Appointed Bishop of Borongan, Philippines
Oct 2006 Appointed Bishop of Tagbilaran, Philippines

As of 2015, Bishop Medroso is allowing a convicted sex offender, Joseph Skelton, Jr., to remain an active priest in the Tagbilaran diocese. Medroso knows that Skelton pled guilty in Detroit MI in 1988 to sexually abusing a 15-year-old boy and that the priest was named by another victim in 2008. When asked in 2010 about leaving Skelton in ministry, Medroso said: "[W]hat obstacle can there be if he has already served his punishment or penalty?"

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller
Bishop Emeritus of Regensburg, Germany
Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Feb 1978 Ordained Priest of Mainz, Germany
Oct 2002 Appointed Bishop of Regensburg, Germany
Jul 2012 Appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
Jul 2012 Appointed President of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei”
Jul 2012 Appointed President of the International Theological Commission
Jul 2012 Appointed President of the Pontifical Biblical Commission
Jul 2012 Appointed Archbishop (Personal Title)
Feb 2014 Elevated to Cardinal
When Müller was bishop of Regensburg in 2004 he appointed a convicted pedophile, Rev. Peter Kramer, to be pastor of a parish. Müller knew he was violating the German bishops’ 2002 “binding” guidelines, which forbid active ministry for a priest who has been convicted of abusing a child. Müller concealed Kramer’s conviction from parishioners. Kramer sexually abused more children in his new assignment and was again convicted of child abuse. Müller disclaimed responsibility for the new abuses and even threatened legal action against his critics. Müller also said, "If Jesus forgave even the worst sinners, how could one deny the pastor a second chance?" This astonishing case has received little attention from news media outside of Germany. The best English-language account is the case study by author and researcher Leon J. Podles.

Bishop William Francis Murphy

Dec 1964 Ordained Priest of Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Nov 1995 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Jun 2001 Appointed Bishop of Rockville Centre, New York, United States

As Vicar for Administration under Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law 1993-2001, Murphy was a key player in handling clergy sexual abuse cases. Among others, Murphy was involved in the notorious cases of Revs. John Geoghan, Paul Mahan, and Bernie Lane. Murphy participated in the archdiocese's practice of not reporting child sexual abuse allegations to law enforcement or child protection services. He gave one priest with known accusations against him, Melvin Surrette, the job of finding assignments for other accused priests. Further, a U.S. Attorney found that Murphy falsified information on a federal form that there was no adverse information about accused child rapist Rev. William J. Scanlan, who was applying to work at a V.A. hospital in California. Per the Massachusetts Attorney General's July 23, 2003 report, "...with undeniable information available to him on the risk of recidivism, Bishop Murphy continued to place a higher priority on preventing scandal and providing support to alleged abusers than on protecting children ... ."

During his tenure as Bishop of Rockville Centre NY, Murphy placed Msgr. Alan Placa on leave in June 2002 due to an accusation Placa had sexually abused a seminarian 25 years previously. In the Suffolk County Grand Jury report released in February 2003, Placa was referred to as "Priest F," who fondled altar boys. Despite his removal, Placa was found in 2005 to be in residence at a diocesan parish, and listed on its bulletin as on staff. He was reinstated in 2009 after the Vatican deemed him "not guilty."

In September 2015, despite having reached the church's mandatory retirement age of 75, Murphy remains Bishop of Rockville Centre.

Archbishop John Joseph Myers

Dec 1966 Ordained Priest of Peoria, Illinois, United States
Jul 1987 Appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Peoria, Illinois, United States
Jan 1990 Succeeded as Bishop of Peoria, Illinois, United States
Jul 2001 Appointed Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey, United States
Retired 11/7/2016 as Newark archbishop. Myers long had been criticized, with calls that he resign, for his mishandling of clergy sexual abuse allegations during his time as bishop in Peoria IL (1987-2001) and in his subsequent role as archbishop of Newark NJ (2001-2016). In August 2013 he called his critics "simply evil." This was after Myers' 2010 deposition was publicly released as part of a $1.35 million settlement between the Peoria diocese and a young man claiming he was sexually abused at 8 years old in the mid-1990s by Peoria priest Thomas Maloney. Documents (see 1 and 2) showed that Myers had received reports of child sexual abuse and inappropriate behavior with both boys and girls by Maloney; Myers stated he either never saw the reports or that they became lost due to a "loose" filing system. In 2000 Myers responded to a woman who wrote to him with concerns about Maloney's behavior with young girls, "I do know that Father loves people, especially young people, and that he cares for them generously," and "We have never had allegations of impropriety." Soon after, Myers asked the Vatican to elevate Maloney to Monsignor. In another case, Newark priest Michael Fugee confessed in 2001 to molesting a 13-year-old boy and was convicted in 2003.  In 2006, his conviction was overturned on a technicality. In 2007,  in a legally binding agreement with prosecutors, the archdiocese promised that Fugee never again would work with minors.  In apparent violation of that agreement, Myers allowed Fugee to work at a hospital; the priest was dismissed in October 2009 when administrators learned of his history. In 2010, the Newark Star-Ledger published a piece exposing Myers' recent mishandling of four accused priests. In spring 2013 Fugee was arrested for violating a judicial order after he was found assisting at overnight retreats for teens. An outraged public blamed Myers, who responded by firing his second-in-command, Monsignor John Doran. Fugee was laicized in 2014. Myers has refused to publish the names of accused clergy, saying he needs to "protect [the accused clergy's] reputations." In September 2013 Pope Francis named Bishop Bernard A. Hebda coadjutor bishop of Newark. Myers denied that the appointment was due to the controversies surrounding his leadership. On 11/7/2016, Myers finally stepped down from his Newark post having reached the standard retirement age of 75. His successor is Cardinal-elect archbishop Joseph Tobin, formerly archbishop (2012-2016) of Indianapolis.

Cardinal George Pell
Archdbishop Emeritus of Sydney, Australia
Member of the Council of Cardinals

Dec 1966 Ordained Priest of Ballarat, Australia
Mar 1987 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Melbourne, Australia
Jul 1996 Appointed Archbishop of Melbourne, Australia
Mar 2001 Appointed Archbishop of Sydney, Australia
Oct 2003 Elevated to Cardinal
Apr 2013 Appointed Member of the Council of Cardinals
Feb 2014 Appointed Prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy

Ordained 1966 for the Ballarat diocese in the state of Victoria, Australia. Assigned 1973 to St. Alipius parish in East Ballarat, where his colleague and housemate for one year (1973-74) was Fr. Gerald Ridsdale, a serial pedophile who eventually would plead guilty to abusing more than 50 children. Both Pell and Ridsdale were assistant priests at the church. In addition, Pell served as the diocesan vicar of education (1973-84), and Ridsdale was chaplain at nearby St. Alipius Boys’ School.

Fr Denis Denehy, who succeeded Ridsdale in Ballarat, later told investigators he believed every boy at St. Alipius Boys’ School had been molested by Ridsdale. Several of the boys were assaulted by more than one priest. An abuse survivor testified that of the 33 boys in his Ballarat school's fourth grade class in 1974, 12 have committed suicide.

In his [month year] testimony to the Royal Commission, Pell denied knowing about the Ballarat priest sex ring during his ten years at St. Alipius (1973-83). But two survivors abused by Edmund Rice Christian Brother Edward Dowlan at St. Patrick’s College, a Catholic boys’ high school in Ballarat, testified that they had sought Pell’s help and were rebuffed. A survivor known as BWF says he told Pell in 1973 that Dowlan was beating and molesting him and his younger brother. Another survivor, Tim Green, testified that he told Pell about Dowlan in 1974. According to Green, Pell responded, "Don't be ridiculous." Pell denied that either conversation had taken place. But in his February 29, 2016 testimony to the Royal Commission, he admitted for the first time that he had heard in 1974 complaints of “harsh discipline and other infractions possibly of a sexual nature” committed by Dowlan at St Patrick’s. He admitted in testimony March 2, 2016 that a school boy told him in the mid-1970s that Dowlan was "misbehaving with boys" and that he did nothing with the complaint.

From 1977 to 1984, Pell served on the tiny diocese’s College of Consultors, a committee of priests that advised the bishop, Ronald Mulkearns, in running the diocese. The consultors approved five transfers of Ridsdale between 1977 and 1982: Pell participated in at least four of those meetings. All of the transfers were responses to Ridsdale’s assaults of children. During the RC’s [month year] hearing in [city], minutes were released of a 1982 consultors’ meeting, attended by Pell, when it was decided to quietly move Ridsdale out of a parish in Mortlake (see minutes of meeting). Ridsdale had abused every boy at the parish between the ages of 10 and 16, according to a witness at a May 2015 commission hearing.

Pell was promoted to auxiliary bishop of Melbourne in 1987. In 1993, after Ridsdale was charged criminally with child sexual abuse. Pell accompanied Ridsdale to court as a show of support despite knowing his guilt. Ridsdale later pled guilty to indecent assault, buggery, of at least 53 children from 1961 to 1982. Ridsdale's nephew, David Ridsdale, told the commission in May 2015 that he reported to Pell in 1993 that Rev. Ridsdale sexually abused him for years, beginning when he was 11 years-old. David Ridsdale said Pell offered him a bribe to keep quiet. As auxiliary bishop in Melbourne, Pell supervised three priests who were abusing children: Peter Searson, Kevin O'Donnell, and Ronald Pickering. There were many complaints about bizarre and abusive behavior by Searson between 1977-1997, yet he was allowed to remain in ministry. Pell told the Royal Commission in March 2016 he did not take action in the case of Searson because "his colleagues and the archbishop, 'would have been fearful that I would (take decisive action) and concerned that I would have asked all sorts of inconvenient questions.' " Pell begged ignorance of pedophilic activity by clergy while he was a priest in Ballarat and as an auxiliary bishop in Melbourne.

Archbishop Juan Alberto Puiggari
Archdiocese of Paraná, Argentina

Nov 1976 Ordained Priest of Paraná, Argentina
Feb 1998 Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Paraná, Argentina
Jun 2003 Appointed Bishop of Mar del Plata, Argentina
Nov 2010 Appointed Archbishop of Paraná, Argentina

For 20 years, Archbishop Puiggari concealed sexual assaults of mostly poor boys from rural families who attended the Paraná archdiocese’s minor seminary. Puiggari was told personally in 1993 by several boys ages 12-14 that they were being raped and assaulted by Father Justo José Ilarraz, prefect of the minor seminary. Puiggari brought the children to then-archbishop (now Cardinal) Estanislao Esteban Karlic, who swore them to secrecy. Karlic and Puiggari did not report Ilarraz to civil authorities, didn’t warn the public, and ignored repeated pleas by victims to remove Ilarraz from the priesthood. He was allowed to transfer to another diocese and was a pastor until 2012, when his crimes were exposed by investigative journalist Daniel Enz. In 2013, the criminal case against Ilarraz was dismissed on SOL grounds, but the dismissal was overturned in April 2015, when an Argentine appeals court ruled that SOL did not apply in this case.

Cardinal Crescenzio Sepe
Archdiocese of Naples, Italy

Mar 1967 Ordained Priest of Aversa, Italy
Apr 1992 Appointed Titular Archbishop of Gradum
Apr 1992 Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy
Feb 2001 Elevated to Cardinal
Apr 2001 Appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples
May 2006 Appointed Archbishop of Napoli {Naples}, Italy
Cardinal Sepe's cover-up of a perpetrator priest named Silverio Mura came to light in 2015, when Italian newspapers and then the Washington Post ran stories about Pope Francis's reply to a letter from "Diego," a victim of Mura. In 2011, both Diego and his psychiatrist had told the archdiocese that Mura had sexually abused him for years, starting in 1989 when Diego was 13. Cardinal Sepe's response was to transfer Mura in 2012 from his parish to a nearby vocational school, certifying him as "suitable" to teach. Mura worked at the school for a year, and had access to children as young as 14. Sepe finally removed Mura from ministry in 2014, after the pope's intervention. To date, there appears to have been no sanctions for Sepe or his auxiliary bishop Lucio Lemmo, with whom the victim met in 2011.

Archbishop Philip Wilson
Archdiocese of Adelaide, Australia

Aug 1975 Ordained Priest of Maitland, Australia
Apr 1996 Appointed Bishop of Wollongong, Australia
Nov 2000 Appointed Coadjutor Archbishop of Adelaide, Australia
Dec 2001 Succeeded Archbishop of Adelaide, Australia
Archbishop Wilson was charged in March 2015 with concealing child sexual abuse, related to the case of pedophile priest Rev. James Fletcher, who was convicted in 2004 of raping a boy. Wilson is said to have failed to report child sexual abuse by Fletcher in 1976, when the two worked together as priests in the Maitland-Newcastle diocese. Wilson denied the charges and vowed to fight them "vigorously." He temporarily stepped down from his positions with the Australian Bishops' Conference and the Truth and Justice Healing Council. He returned to public ministry in January 2016. Wilson appealed and failed twice in 2016 to have the charges dropped.

Note: The bishops included in this table and in our Database of Accused Priests meet the conditions described in our posting policy. This table and the database do not state or imply that individuals facing allegations are guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims. The reports contained in the database are merely allegations. The U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements.

This page was last updated January 27, 2017.

















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