Diocese Will Release Priests' Files
Fort Worth Catholic Diocese Will Comply with Judge's Request
By Raquel Eatmon
CBS 11 [Fort Worth TX]
August 11, 2006
(CBS 11 News) The bishop of the Fort Worth Catholic Diocese issued a public apology Friday morning to those who have suffered sexual abuse and said the diocese would not appeal Tarrant County's request to release portions of the personnel files of seven priests accused of sexual abuse of minors.
"It is a sin — and a crime," Bishop Kevin Vann said at a news conference at The Catholic Center in Fort Worth. "In fact, such abuse is doubly painful for those of you who have suffered it. For it not only took your innocence and your childhood; in some cases it destroyed your Faith."
On July 25, Tarrant County District Judge Len Wade issued the ruling for the diocese to release the personnel files.
Diocesan officials said the request raised privacy concerns. Vann said the judge discussed those concerns with the diocese and they agreed to release the files.
The records reveal details of what allegedly happened between some young Catholics and several clergy members.
"In reading through these records it is evident to me that as a church now operating under the charter's stringent requirements — we could have acted more promptly, forthrightly, and with greater compassion to those who came forward with allegations," the bishop said.
"I say this not to criticize past decisions in the diocese but to measure them
against the stringent demands of the 2002 Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People," he added.
Those listed in court documents are James Hanlon, William Hoover, James Reilly Joseph Tu Ngoc Nguyen, John Howlett, Rudolf Renteria and Philip Magaldi.
According to documents the diocese released, disciplinary action were taken against four of the seven. The other three died.
The deceased are James Hanlon, William Hoover and James Reilly. According to the diocese, Hanlon died in 1990; Hoover died in 1996 and Reilly died in 1999.
Nguyen, O.P., was reassigned by Dominican Order to Galveston/Houston Diocese. Faculties suspended by Dominican Order pending investigation of
current allegations, Diocesan officials said.
Howlett was restricted by the Pallotine Order to their Provincial House in Dublin, Ireland.
As of April 25, 1999, Magaldi retired from the ministry. Diocesan officials said at time of his retirement, he was told he would no longer be allowed to perform ministry in the church.
On June 24, 2002, Renteria's faculties were permanently removed by Bishop Joseph Patrick Delaney.
Vann stressed because some cases and the personnel files are pending before the courts, he is prevented from discussing specific details in those records.
He added that the decision not to appeal the release of the personnel records represents "a turning point in the journey toward healing and reconciliation."
"What our Church has learned is that we must be ever vigilant and each and every one of us must truly live our faith."
"God has given us this opportunity not only to rectify some wrongs but also to do some good," he added.
Church officials said they are committed to following the protocol in dealing with all sexual abuse cases within the church.
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