Investigation into Omaha Priest Moves Forward
January 11, 2013
OMAHA, Neb. —The Archdiocese of Omaha says two canon lawyers will help Archbishop George Lucas determine whether a priest is guilty of sexually abusing a minor.
The archbishop received a complaint in December 2011 that Alfred J. Salanitro, 53, sexually abused a minor between 1991 and 1994.
While Salanitro denied the accusation, the archdiocese said that Lucas found the complaint "carried with it semblance of truth."
The archdiocese said it has been instructed by the Vatican to resolve the matter through an administrative penal process.
"Experts in church law will evaluate the evidence gathered during the investigation and offer the archbishop their opinion on Father Salanitro's innocence or guilt," said Timothy McNeil, chancellor of the Archdiocese of Omaha.
Salanitro, a pastor of St. Bernadette Parish in Bellevue, has been on leave since the complaint was filed with the archdiocese.
On Friday, a group of clergy abuse victims blasted the Omaha archbishop over the delay in resolving the matter.
"It's irresponsible for Catholic officials to drag their feet in child sex abuse cases like this," said Barbara Dorris, outreach director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. "(Lucas) should beg anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered misdeeds by the priest to contact law enforcement immediately."