St. Louis Archdiocese Must Release Abusers" Names
By Rachel Lippmann
St. Louis Public Radio
February 5, 2014
|The Cathedral Basilica.|
Missouri's Supreme Court has ordered the Archdiocese of St. Louis to give the names of priests and other church employees credibly abused of sexually abusing minors to a plaintiff in a lawsuit.
Shortly after the court's two-line order yesterday, the Archdiocese turned over the list of 240 complaints made against 115 priests and employees since 1986. A court order keeps the names of the accused and the victims sealed to the public.
In a statement, the Archdiocese said it had fought the case to "protect the privacy rights of all involved, including victims who had no connection to current litigation and who had come forth confidentially regarding their reported allegation.
"We appreciate the concern given this case throughout the appellate process," the statement continued, "and although we share the disappointment of the many innocent individuals who will be affected by it, the Archdiocese of St. Louis will comply with the order."
The underlying case is scheduled to go to trial on Feb. 24. It involves a 19-year-old girl who is suing the Archdiocese for failing to properly supervise priests in its parishes.
For years, the Catholic Church has been fighting allegations that it covered up the sexual abuse of minors by priests, nuns and other employees. Priests were moved from parish to parish, and alleged abuse was never reported to the police or other law enforcement.
Many of the alleged cases happened decades ago, making civil and criminal cases impossible. But dioceses and archdioceses around the country have paid millions in settlements for claims that happened within the statute of limitations. Eleven dioceses have claimed bankruptcy. Eleven dioceses have filed for bankruptcy. Advocates for victims say those filings are less about a lack of assets and more about halting litigation
Most suits have been filed against both the individual and the diocese or archdiocese.
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child released a report Feb. 5, that blasted the Vatican for how it had handled the child sexual abuse scandal, saying in its conclusion:
"The Committee is gravely concerned that the Holy See has not acknowledged the extent of the crimes committed, has not taken the necessary measures to address cases of child sexual abuse and to protect children, and has adopted policies and practices which have led to the continuation of the abuse by and the impunity of the perpetrators."
The committee report specifically referenced the transfer of abusive priests from parish to parish.