Petitions Call for Archbishop to Resign
Organizers Fault Kelly's Handling of Abuse Cases

By Peter Smith
Downloaded May 14, 2003

About 700 people have signed petitions calling on Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly to resign, according to advocates for victims of sexual abuse who brought the petitions yesterday to the headquarters of the Archdiocese of Louisville.

The organizers of the petition drive -who include plaintiffs suing the archdiocese over alleged sexual abuse and their supporters - have been gathering signatures over the past month, faulting Kelly for his handling of allegedly sexually abusive priests.

The number of signers equals less than 1 percent of the 200,000 Catholics in 24 counties in the archdiocese.

Michael Turner, one of 250 plaintiffs suing the archdiocese over alleged sexual abuse by priests and others, said organizers got signatures from acquaintances and by going door to door.

Organizers of the drive said the majority of those who signed the petitions are Catholic.

"If we want to move forward, the first thing we have to do is start the change at the top, to start with the people who have put priests back into situations where they have abused again," said Shannon Age, another plaintiff.

The petition drive was launched last month with the release of internal church memos detailing how Kelly kept the Rev. Thomas Creagh in parish ministry in 1983 after Creagh admitted molesting a teenage boy. Creagh is accused in lawsuits of later abusing two other boys.

The protesters also fault Kelly's decision to keep the Rev. Louis Miller in the priesthood after Miller admitted in 1990 to abusing children.

Kelly has said he barred Miller from ministry with minors after he learned of the priest's abuse.

He has said he thought Creagh's abuse was an isolated incident and didn't believe Creagh would continue to pose a danger, but he said he would not have made the same decision today.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Cecelia Price declined to comment on the petitions. Kelly has previously said he has no plans to resign, saying he believes it is his responsibility to stay and resolve the sex-abuse crisis.


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