Worcester Voice Report Cites 56 Allegations of Abuse
By Kathleen A. Shaw
Telegram & Gazette [Worcester MA]
Downloaded July 23, 2003
WORCESTER- The Catholic Worcester diocese has had 56 known allegations of clergy sexual abuse in recent years, according to Mary T. Jean of Worcester Voice.
Mrs. Jean, a Leominster Catholic, compiled a report on the extent of the sexual abuse crisis in Central Massachusetts based on her own research, interviews with alleged victims, and a check of media coverage of the scandal. These allegations are based on criminal charges, civil suits or public allegations of abuse, she said.
Mrs. Jean said it is apparent that this alleged abuse has been going on "at least for 20 years."
Raymond L. Delisle, diocesan spokesman, urged caution in reading and evaluating what Mrs. Jean has posted on her Web site. He said she has no professional credentials or "professional methodology" to write such a report.
"In general, after looking at Mrs. Jean's Web site, her report appears to be a compilation of the Telegram's stories over past years combined with her own unsubstantiated opinions about the diocese," Mr. Delisle said.
Allegations of sexual abuse "have been responded to by our diocese over the past few decades and have been reported extensively in the media," he said.
Mr. Delisle said Mrs. Jean's report contains "many inaccuracies, from wrong interpretations of rulings, to references to priests and religious not part of the diocese, to unfounded, potentially libelous statements against individuals."
This type of reporting happens when "someone tries to compile a report based on opinion without having appropriate methodologies or professional credentials," he said. "Biased speculation" adds "additional harm to victims, especially those who have yet to come forward to seek the support that the Church is providing to others through counseling," he said.
"We are confident that the national audit by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Office of Child and Youth Protection, led by Kathleen McChesney, a former FBI director, will bear out the truth that our diocese has been responding to the best of its ability to this crisis, when measured against nationally accepted standards," Mr. Delisle said.
"We also believe that the John Jay School of Criminal Justice Report will be the authoritative source for analysis of the cases both locally and nationally."
Mrs. Jean, who stands by her report and said she can back up what she said, so far has been unable to get official records from the diocese regarding sexual abuse but did her own research on information she was able to obtain from other sources.
The Worcester Voice report on the extent of abuse in the diocese was done "so the truth can be exposed" and all clergy abuse information could be put into one document, she said.
"I want average Catholics to be able to read the report and understand for themselves what has happened and is happening," she said. The report is being sent to the diocese and is available on the Worcester Voice Web site at www.worcestervoice.com.
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