Archbishop's Plan to Prevent Abuse
Brunett Calls for the Creation of a Community Institute
By Vanessa Ho
Seattle Post-Intelligence [Tacoma WA]
Downloaded April 30, 2004
TACOMA -- Seattle Archbishop Alex Brunett called yesterday for the creation of a community institute to study and prevent child sexual abuse.
In a speech to the Rotary Club of Tacoma, Brunett said child abuse is a concern not only in the Roman Catholic Church but throughout society, and he asked service clubs and professional groups to support him in his efforts to help victims.
Brunett, whose archdiocese serves about 1 million Catholics in Western Washington, was vague on most details. He did not have a funding plan, location or general shape for the institute.
He said it was an idea he had, after looking for a local center solely dedicated to helping child-abuse victims and finding none. He said it might be located at a university and be up and running in a year or two.
"This problem is not just a priest problem," Brunett told his audience. "The sexual abuse of children is a scourge affecting every sector of society."
He said that he wanted the institute to have ecumenical and secular participation, and that he hopes to meet with the state teachers union, trial lawyers, medical associations and youth groups to build support.
Meanwhile, he told reporters yesterday that the cases of three priests facing allegations of sexual abuse had been resolved. He offered few details on the cases, but said they included the Rev. James McGreal, the subject of 40 sex-abuse allegations.
He said he decided not to defrock McGreal, because, as a priest, McGreal can live in a locked treatment center for clergy in Missouri. That arrangement is safer for the public, Brunett said.
"I could laicize him, but then I'm throwing him back out in society," he said. "He will not be listed as a sex offender, yet he would be a very serious offender."
Brunett said the two other priests were elderly and retired.
The three priests were part of 13 cases that had been pending before an archdiocesan board that reviews allegations of sexual abuse. The board makes recommendations to Brunett, who sends his decision to the Vatican for approval.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.