Look at Priest Sex Abuse Allegations

The Associated Press, carried in Newsday [United States]
September 27, 2004

Retired Springfield Bishop Thomas Dupre became the first bishop criminally charged in the sex abuse crisis that erupted in America's Roman Catholic Church in early 2002 when he was indicted by a grand jury. However, the district attorney announced Monday he would not prosecute, saying the statute of limitations expired in the case.

There have been at least a dozen grand jury investigations into how bishops responded to abuse claims against the priests they supervised. Four other bishops also have resigned after being accused of sexual misconduct, though none faced criminal charges. They are:

* Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who asked the Vatican to speed up his retirement after it was learned that the archdiocese paid a $450,000 settlement to a man who said Weakland sexually assaulted him.

* Bishop J. Kendrick Williams of Lexington, Ky., who resigned after he was accused of abusing two minors decades ago -- allegations he denied.

* Bishop Anthony O'Connell of Palm Beach, Fla., who quit after admitting he repeatedly abused an underage student at a Missouri seminary he led.

* Auxiliary Bishop James McCarthy of New York, who stepped down after admitting to affairs with adult women.

In other cases:

* In Arizona, investigators said they had enough evidence to indict Bishop Thomas O'Brien of Phoenix on obstruction of justice charges for his handling of molestation claims. But O'Brien avoided criminal charges by signing an agreement last year that called for him to relinquish some control over the day-to-day operations of the diocese. He retired after he was charged in a fatal hit-and-run accident in 2003. He was convicted in that case.

* In New Hampshire, Manchester Bishop John McCormack struck a deal with authorities, acknowledging that the diocese would have been convicted of failing to protect children if prosecutors had gone to court.


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