Bishop Richard Malone's Statement Regarding Priests Accused of Sexual Abuse
January 29, 2007
Portland (Jan 29, 2007): The following is the complete text of Bishop Richard Malone's statement regarding the release of the names of four priests accused of sexual abuse.
The last time I met with the press, I indicated I was considering the need to release names of priests who in the past had been accused of sexually abusing minors, and who had been removed from ministry but without public notification. It was common practice to removing offending priests from ministry usually without public notification until the Dallas Charter took effect in 2002. Since then, all substantive complaints of sexual abuse of minors require that the accused step down from ministry while an investigation takes place, and that the parish community and the public are informed.
Our diocese has four cases involving diocesan priests removed from ministry prior to 2002 due to accusations of abusing minors that were admitted or sufficiently established and whose names have never been publicized by the Diocese of Portland. The diocese did report all of these individuals to civil authorities.
Under the rules of the Dallas Charter, it is also required that I request laicization in each case. It is important to me that due process established by the Holy See is followed. Until today, our practice has been to inform the public only when Rome makes its final decision in each case.
In some instances, the process has taken longer than I had anticipated—in fairness to the Vatican, many cases have been sent for adjudication; therefore, I am unsure how long it will be before all our cases are resolved. This being the case, I have become increasingly concerned about the possible risk of re-offense in the cases of those who have not been publicly identified. This possibility became a reality in the Diocese of Wilmington, Del. where an offending priest whose name had not been disclosed but who had been restricted years ago, was arrested on a new charge just three months ago. Because of that, I have consulted at length with my advisors as well as the Independent Diocesan Review Board and the Presbyteral Council, and I am now convinced that the time has come to release the names of the remaining priests who were removed from ministry due to abuse allegations, whose offenses were admitted or sufficiently established.
To my knowledge there has never been publicity regarding these individuals: George W. Beaudet, 67, resides in-state. Beaudet was accused in the year 2000 and was removed from ministry that year, due to abuse dating back to 1979. Additional complaints were received in 2002.
Frederick A. Carrigan, 72, resides out of state. In 1989, he was sent for treatment for inappropriate conduct with adults. In 1990 his ministry was restricted and he took an assignment out of state with full disclosure to the diocese and the institutions where he worked. In 1991, he was accused of sexual abuse of a minor dating back to 1972, and was removed from all ministry in 2002.
Michael L. Plourde, 56, resides in-state. He was sent for treatment in 1989 due to an allegation of inappropriate conduct with an adult. In 1990, his ministry was limited and restrictions were imposed. He was accused by two minors in 1994 and was removed from ministry that year.
Ronald N. Michaud, 60, his last known address was in state. He is a native of Maine who was ordained for the Archdiocese of Baltimore. Later, he requested to minister in Maine. In 1989, he was accused of sexual abuse of a minor involving an incident in Baltimore. He was sent for treatment and has been restricted from ministry ever since. Subsequent complaints have been received. This case did receive publicity in Baltimore, but not in the state of Maine.
Last March, I announced three final dispositions from Rome and today I have two more to report:
The Vatican has determined Peter P. Gorham, 79, who is currently in very ill health, will lead a life of prayer and penance. Gorham was first accused in 1995 regarding an offense dating back to 1953 and was allowed to retire in 1996. He has had no further ministry and he resides in-state.
And 79-year-old Francis J. Kane also has been assigned to a life of prayer and penance which is in accord with the Dallas Charter for people of advanced age and ill health. Kane was accused in 1986. His ministry was limited in 1987 and he was restricted from all ministry in 1997.
There are a few cases to update which already have received past publicity: In the case of Thomas Lee, he maintains his innocence and requested a canonical trial. The Vatican has granted his request. Lee stepped down from ministry in 2003 when additional information was received on an earlier claim of sexual abuse that previously could not be substantiated. He has been out of ministry since that time.
In the case of Rev. Jim Michaud, we have no proof there was sexual abuse against a person under the age of 18. But in the course of the investigation
information came forward regarding other misconduct that caused me to decide he should not have public ministry.
In the case of John Harris, information was received in 2003 alleging inappropriate behavior involving minors. During the investigation, no one ever stepped forward claiming to be a victim of sexual abuse. However, Bishop Joseph decided his behavior was such that he should not have public ministry and Harris agreed. He is residing in Canada.
There has been previous publicity regarding Michael Doucette, Marcel Robitaille and Raymond Melville; those cases will be adjudicated by the Holy See.
Once again I want to express my profound sorrow and sincere apology to all those who have been harmed by priests and other representatives of the Church. And that includes first and foremost the sexual abuse victims, their grieving families and all the people of God who have been traumatized by the scandal including the overwhelming majority of good priests. Lost childhoods, lost trust, and for some, a crisis of faith have been the result. Those who perpetuated the abuse and those in the hierarchy who attempted to protect the Church by keeping the crimes against children a secret, have harmed the Church immeasurably.
I pray each day, and I hope you will join me, to ask that our heavenly Father will give us the wisdom, strength and resolve to confront the sins of the past without fear. Only by admitting failures and taking corrective action can trust and moral leadership be restored. We have done much in the past five years toward that end, including improved outreach to victims, implementing an ethics policy for church employees and volunteers, and establishing prevention and protection programs. I am hopeful that today's release will provide another step toward healing.
In that light, as a way to publicly declare repentance and express solidarity with the victims, I am designating Wednesday, March 21, 2007 as a day of fasting and penance for myself, all clergy, religious and members of the laity who want to support victims of clerical sex abuse.
Once again, I want to take this opportunity to encourage anyone who has been abused by clergy or other church representative to make a report to the diocese or the police so that help can be offered to you.
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