ARCHDIOCESE OF CINCINNATI OH
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Over the past two years we have all become more aware of the sad reality
that sexual abuse of children and young people is a significant problem
in the church, just as it is in society as a whole. I am sorry that any
priest has ever abused anyone and equally sorry that we did not deal with
these priests in ways that we now believe appropriate.
The John Jay Report
The bishops also promised to seek a deeper understanding of the nature and scope of clerical child abuse. As part of that effort, the National Review Board, established by the United Stated Conference of Catholic Bishops, commissioned John Jay College of Criminal Justice to survey each of the 195 dioceses, archdioceses and eparchies of the United States to provide an unflinching statistical portrait of child abuse by priests since 1950.
The study, to be released Friday, February 27, 2004 is unparalleled. No other organization has done anything similar to this. That means, of course, that there will be no basis for comparison of church statistics with those of other institutions whose agents also come into close contact with children.
Archdiocesan Figures 1950-2002
After reviewing records, we have established that 33 priests of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati were accused of 87 instances of child abuse from 1950 to 2002, including one case in which the sole accusation - against Cardinal Joseph Bernardin - was later withdrawn. This number also includes anonymous allegations and allegations that could not be substantiated. During that period 827 diocesan priests served in the archdiocese. We don't know how the percentage of offenders compares to society at large or to any other segment of society. What we know is that the only acceptable percentage of priests abusing children is zero.
Of the priests accused in the 1950-2002 period, 12 were placed on administrative leave pending possible permanent removal from ministry, 11 are deceased, two voluntarily sought laicization, one was dismissed from the clerical state, and seven were the subject of accusations that were investigated and determined to be without substance.
It is often unclear in what year the abuse happened. It appears, however, that about two-thirds of the reported incidents occurred between 1975 and 1984.
Between 1950 and 2002, the archdiocese spent a total of about $2,700,000 on expenses related to child abuse by priests - settlements and counseling to help the victims, counseling for priests, and related legal fees.
These are the figures we submitted for the John Jay Report. They cover the years 1950-2002.
In 2003, a total of 81 new child abuse complaints were brought forward against previously accused priests. There were also another 20 accusations against as many as 16 priests not previously accused.
Of the priests accused for the first time in 2003, three are now on administrative leave, seven are deceased, one was laicized, three were not identified by the accuser, one left the ministry many years ago without formal laicization and is now deceased, according to the attorney who presented the allegation, and one was the subject of an accusation that was investigated and found to be without substance.
In 2003, the archdiocese spent about $716,000 on expenses related to child abuse by priests. As part of an agreement with the Hamilton County Prosecuting Attorney, the archdiocese in 2003 also committed $3,000,000 to compensate the victims of child abuse by any archdiocesan representative, no matter when that abuse happened. A panel of three highly respected individuals is administering that fund. The money came from sales of property and other general revenues available - not from the parish weekly collection basket, not from the Archbishop's Annual Fund Drive - not from any other targeted collection. This was also true of earlier expenditures.
Child abuse is both a sickness and a moral failing, but it is also a crime. In addition to taking action against a priest who has been credibly accused of child abuse, the archdiocese will forward to the appropriate civil authorities any allegations of child abuse that come to our attention, no matter when the abuse is said to have happened. This is true not only in Hamilton County but in all 19 counties of the archdiocese.
I want to remind you, however, that priests are entitled to the same presumption of innocence as anyone accused of a crime. And I want to assure you that under church law, as under U.S. secular law, accused priests have rights to due process.
Victims and Prevention
Now I would like to say something about those most affected by child abuse - the victims.
Even before the adoption of our first Decree on Child Abuse in 1993, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati long made it a practice to extend pastoral care to the survivors of child abuse. I have met with many victims, and I will meet with any others who wish to meet with me. In addition, the archdiocese has often paid for counseling to help victims. In some cases, the archdiocese also reached settlements. To my knowledge, these settlements never included a prohibition on the victim reporting the abuse to legal authorities or to anyone else.
Some victims feel that we have not done enough. I agree - because I don't think we can ever do enough. There is no way to fully repair damage done to a child.
While we continue to deal with the child abuse in the past, the archdiocese remains focused on preventing abuse now and in the future. I believe that the policies, procedures and recommendations in the Decree on Child Abuse of 1993 and its updates of 1998 and 2003 have contributed to a safe environment for children of the Archdiocese for more than a decade. If you have not been trained in the provisions of this decree as a volunteer or employee, I urge you to familiarize yourself with them. You may obtain a copy of the decree on the web at www.CatholicCincinnati.org or by calling the Office of the Chancellor at (513) 421-3131.
I am sure that many of you are wondering, "When will all of this end?" I don't know the answer to that. I cannot promise you that there will not be new accusations in the future. I can only promise that we will continue to enforce our Decree on Child Protection, that we will continue to try to make it better, and that we will remove from ministry any priest, deacon, lay employee or volunteer against whom there is a credible allegation.
Please continue to pray for me and for my collaborators in ministry that we have wisdom and strength in dealing with this challenge in the years ahead. And pray that the Lord will give us the faith and hope we need to see His hand in all this.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
+Daniel E. Pilarczyk
ARCHDIOCESE — On Feb. 26, a day before the National Review Board released two reports, A Report on the Crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States and its massive research study, The Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests and Deacons in the United States 1950-2002, conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk sat down to talk with The Catholic Telegraph about these groundbreaking reports.
Q. Let’s talk first about the long-awaited "John Jay" report. What were your initial impressions of it?
A. It’s useful. It’s a beginning. I am not a professional psychologist, but it is my sense that there is nothing like this in existence dealing with a large nationwide institution.
And I am sorry that there is a John Jay report. I am sorry priests have offended. I am sorry we have to be dealing with this very unpleasant material.
Q. The U.S. bishops, in creating the charter they adopted in Dallas, took a strong "zero tolerance" position toward sex abusers in their employ. There have been some issues raised about the fairness of that policy in all cases. Do you see the possibility of that policy changing in the future?
A. Perhaps down the road, not immediately. I think that if you have a diocesan priest who is publicly known as a child abuser, even if it was a long time ago, there are people in every pastoral context who will simply not accept or tolerate that person.
I think that what I’m saying is that I’m sorry that’s the way it is, but it is this way. And I voted for it.
Q. Some dioceses have opted to release the names of every clergy or lay person with substantiated allegations against them. Will you do this?
A. No. I don’t think we need to do it. Many of the accusations are from years ago; we have already listed in our archdiocesan newspaper the names of those living who have been removed from ministry. I don’t personally see any point in digging up the dead.
Q. What about cases where the allegations were found to be false? Did we have any of those? What can be done to restore a priest’s good name in this environment?
A. If the accused’s name was made public, we have to do whatever we can to restore his good name. But most of the ones I’m aware of, the names never became public because the accusations were never substantiated enough to make them public.
Some priests think that all it takes is an accusation of any sort and they’re removed from ministry. The fact is, we’ve had several allegations made that were so outlandish they didn’t even bear further investigation. This (administrative leave) does not happened automatically when someone comes forward with an accusation.
Q. According to the John Jay report, less than 13 percent of allegations of abuse were made in the year the abuse allegedly began. More than 25 percent made more than 30 years after. Any thoughts about this?
A. I think up until quite recently it was perceived that for the victim to admit his or her victimizationwas as shameful as for the victimizer to admit his or her guilt. That’s not rational, but that’s the way it was. You didn’t tell, because people would think there was something wrong with you, the victim.
It may be that one of the positive outcomes of this whole episode in our church history is that it’s now easier to tell someone when you’ve been abused.
Q. The study also shows that the majority of priests with allegations of abuse were ordained between 1950 and 1979. What would account for that?
A. I think in large part it is because of the social context of the times. These were years of significant social and religious turmoil. We were all affected by that.
I was seminary rector from 1968-74. When I became rector, the seminary program was essentially the same as it had been when I had entered in 1948. Changes were required. I made those with the consent of the faculty and the archbishop. The changes allowed for much more openness on the part of the seminarians to come and go. Seminarians had cars. To some, this was practically Armageddon.
Were there abuses? I think so. I think some seminarians ran around more than they needed to. Did this elicit wild sexual misbehavior and orgies? No. Were there incidents of homosexual behavior during my years as rector? There were. There always are, but not vast numbers. I threw people out of the seminary for sexual misbehavior.
One thing that doesn’t come out is the fact that all human beings are inherently sinful. We keep looking to find out whose fault it is — all of it. But no human being is fully responsible for what another human being does.
Q. The financial figure nationally is staggering – the report says that is possible that more than $500,000,000 was spent in dealing with clergy sexual abuse. What do you, as archbishop, say to the people whose hard-earned dollars go into collection baskets each week?
A. Should we have not spent money on getting psychological help for victims? Should we not have engaged legal counsel? If we hadn’t, more money would have been spent. Should we not have settled any lawsuits outside of court to save money?
We’re dealing with a messy, terrible, unpleasant situation. You don’t deal with messy, terrible, unpleasant situations without some cost.
Q. Are you angry with the local priests, as well as those from other dioceses, who committed sexual abuses?
A. I am angry with all of them to one degree or another. But my personal experience is that anger is still a relatively non-productive emotion.
But yes, I have expressed that anger to most of them. Not by thumping on my desk and yelling, though.
Q. One of the points emphasized in the National Review Board’s report on causes and context of abuse is that bishops do not have a great deal of accountability. They don’t answer to their brother bishops, and their boss is "10,000 miles away at the Vatican."
A. Well, I don’t think I’d say that the boss is 10,000 miles away. There is an apostolic nuncio in Washington who has been known to intervene as he sees necessary. Also, every bishop has to put in a five-year report to the Vatican, as we did a few weeks ago.
I think bishops are more accountable than they used to be to the public.
I give reports to our priests’ council six times a year. If all of my priests think I’m doing a lousy job, then I’m accountable. Can they remove me? No. But can they make my life miserable?
We publish the financial report of the archdiocese every year. I also make accountings to the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council four times a year, and to the deans of the archdiocese.
Q. One of the things the report is harsh about is in its statement that the bishops of dioceses were at fault for their "excessive reliance on the therapeutic model in dealing with priest offenders." In other words, why did you listen to the psychological experts?
A. What else were we supposed to do? If we had said at the time, "I have no confidence in the therapeutic model and I’m going to make my decisions based on my own instincts or whims," we would have been criticized for that.
Q. Does it hurt to read the report, to see in print that the bishops are being blamed for failing to respond to the abuse "appropriately"?
A. Yeah, of course it does. Nobody likes to be blamed or misjudged for things over which their control was limited, if they had any at all.
If we are talking about institutional responsibility, then does that mean that the canon law of the church was not particularly helpful? The institution would also include parents, who are members of the church, teachers in a school, school principals, pastors — the institution is an abstraction, not real people and places.
I think what we’re experiencing is the need to blame. If you can find the thing or person to blame, it’s easier to handle this.
Q. The Review Board report blames bishops for allowing "the threat of litigation" to affect their pastoral role.
A. I felt hindered very little in my pastoral responsibilities by legal institutions or ramifications.
Part of my many responsibilities is preserving the patrimony of the church, which is not to say that money is more important than people, but it is to say that the seemingly reckless disbursement of diocesan assets is not virtuous.
You know, another bishop friend of mine said, "The attorneys want me to fight, to settle, etc., and I have decided that the only thing that makes any sense is to do the pastoral thing." And I think we tried to do that here.
Q. The report also makes reference to bishops’ "misguided acts of forgiveness" to explain their leniency toward offending priests.
A. I do not perceive we had any misguided act of forgiveness. We said, "You have offended, you must get therapy, etc."
I think it’s very, very important to have a clear idea of what forgiveness is. Forgiveness means you love someone despite the evil they have done you. It doesn’t mean you deny the evil, or say there are no results of the evil that was done.
Q. The report urges bishops to listen to and be responsible to the concerns of laity. How are already doing that and planning to do more of it?
A. I think the mechanisms, the structures are there – parish pastoral councils, finance council, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council. The structures have to be taken seriously and used responsibly.
The theme out there is that all the bishops messed up, and now we’ll put laity in charge and they won’t mess up. If the bishops made mistakes, doesn’t it follow that the laity can make mistakes, too?
Q. With regard to creating a system for more accountability, the report suggests that some type of system be set up whereby a group of bishops from neighboring dioceses would formally visit a diocese to evaluate the bishop there in some manner.
A. I think that would be very interesting. The analog would be like an accreditation team.
The bishops would have to agree to it. That’s bringing in a whole different concept to diocesan bishops. It’s not going to happen next year, because I suspect a whole lot of bishops wouldn’t agree to it.
Everyone is saying the bishops should have said more about these other bishops who kept replacing abusive priests. But what did we know about that? We knew what we read in the papers. Do I want us going after one another because of what’s in the papers? You bet your life I don’t.
Q. According to the board’s report, "the sexual abuse of a minor has long been characterized within the church as both a serious canonical crime and a grievous sin." The report cites data back as far as 1178 and notes that canonical and other punishments for abusive clergy have long been in existence. So why does it seem as though it is so difficult to punish or remove priests who abuse?
A. The reason is that this isn’t the year 1178. We have the 1918 and 1983 Codes of Canon Law. Part of the rationale for the kind of canon law we now have is intended to protect the priests from capricious bishops.
Q. Well, and the report states that "the Vatican did not recognize the scope of the gravity of the problem facing the church in the U.S. despite numerous warning signs and it rebuffed earlier attempts to reform procedures for removing predator priests."
A. I agree.
Q. In the late 1980s, there was a group of bishops in the United States that began asking the Vatican to institute an expedited administrative process for the removal of priests who had sexually abused minors? Were you one of those bishops?
A. I was part of that effort.
Q. One of the quotes that struck me in the board’s report was that they refer to the sexual abuse crisis as being a "crisis of the episcopacy as much as a crisis of the priesthood."
A. I agree. I believe that some bishops did not do well with problems they were presented with, and all bishops had to do some heavy-duty on-the-job learning because there was no precedent for what we were presented with.
Q. Our priests are angry and hurting, morale is down.
A. (Nodding) I’m sorry that’s the case, and it’s very painful. I don’t think there’s any specific thing I can do to make it go away. I can try to be more supportive of our individual priests and the council of priests. I can explain. I can publish letters in The Catholic Telegraph.
I can’t undo the harm that has been done. And I’m sorry about that.
You also have to add into all of that the fact that we are coming though
a period of economic stress, which has had its effects on priests, a period
when lay people have been angry at me and show it by not contributing
to their parishes, and a period when every priest knows his ministry will
be very different in 10 years.
ARCHBISHOP COMMENTS ON JOHN JAY REPORT
Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk characterized the John Jay Report on clerical child abuse in the U.S. Catholic Church, released this morning, as "very useful" and "a beginning."
Nevertheless, he said in an interview with Catholic Telegraph editor Tricia Hempel, "I am sorry that there is a John Jay Report because I am sorry that there were priests who offended."
The report, commissioned by the United States Catholic Conference’s National Review Board on child abuse and conducted by John Jay College of Criminal Justice, used data supplied by dioceses to tabulate reports of clerical child abuse in the U.S. Church from 1950 to 2002. But the archbishop cautioned that there is no guarantee that all past abuse has come to light.
"This is the first report of this kind that has ever been done by any major social institution in this country," he said. "That may mean it is almost by definition provisional."
The Archbishop reports in a letter to the faithful in today’s Catholic Telegraph that the Archdiocese received reports of abuse by 33 of its diocesan priests from 1950 to 2002, including one withdrawn and seven investigated and deemed unsubstantiated. In that period, 827 diocesan priests served. Those figures are part of the national John Jay Report.
In 2003, accusations were reported against as many as 16 additional priests, including one determined to be without substance and three in which the accusers could not identify the priests. Ordinations last year brought the total number of priests serving from 1950 to 2003 to 833.
"I am angry at all of them (abusive priests)," Archbishop Pilarczyk said. "I have expressed that anger."
The John Jay Report put the economic cost of child abuse to the U.S. Catholic Church at perhaps $500 million, including about $2.7 million in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. In 2003 the Archdiocese spent another $716,000 and put aside $3 million for a victim assistance fund. The Archbishop defended the expenditures.
"Should we have not spent money on offering psychological help to victims?" the Archbishop said. "I think that’s money well spent."
In a second report issued today, the National Review Board examines the causes and contexts of clerical child abuse. The report sites many factors, including failures of the bishops. It calls the child sexual abuse scandal "as much a crisis of the episcopacy as of the priesthood."
"I believe that some bishops did not do well with the problems they were presented with and all bishops had to do some heavy duty on-the-job learning because there was no precedent for what we were presented with," Archbishop Pilarczyk said.
He confirmed the report’s account that beginning in the late 1980s a number of influential American bishops began asking the Vatican – without success – to institute an expedited administrative process for the removal of priests who had sexually abused minors. "I was part of that effort," he said.
The report calls for increased lay participation in the governance of the Church.
"I think the mechanisms and the structures (for lay involvement) are there – parish pastoral councils, finance councils, the Archdiocesan Pastoral Council," the Archbishop said. "The structures have to be taken seriously and used responsibly. I would also affirm that to say bishops made mistakes, it does not follow that lay persons would not have made mistakes. I don’t believe that’s logical or reasonable."
The complete interview with Archbishop Pilarczyk will be published in
an upcoming issue of The Catholic Telegraph.
When two reports came out last month on the Catholic Church's sexual
abuse scandal, Bishop Wilton Gregory, who directed one of the investigations,
said the church's "terrible history" was history.
Specifically, a national study conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice found that, between 1950 and 2002, nearly 11,000 people accused 4,392 priests of sexually abusing them as children. That figure represented about 4 percent of all the priests who served during that period. The percentage was mirrored almost exactly in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
The survey and researchers' numbers-crunching give the most definitive picture thus far of the extent of the scandal. But the picture has raised more questions.
The Cincinnati archdiocese reported that four priests who have voluntarily left the priesthood were among those accused of sexual abuse. Another eight had allegations made against them that the diocese said it couldn't substantiate.
None of these individuals has been named publicly.
Dan Andriacco, a spokesman for the archdiocese, says the priests who left the priesthood are no longer under the church's jurisdiction, so it's inappropriate to publicize their names. And he says it would be unfair to release the names of individuals who were the subject of complaints that didn't check out. Prosecutors, he said, may decide the names should be public.
Survivors, locally and nationally, see this decision as a continuation of a cover-up. They're calling on church officials to disclose the names of suspected abusers, arguing that's one way to protect against a pedophile striking again.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen, who conducted a grand jury investigation of the Cincinnati Archdiocese's handling of child sexual abuse complaints, says he and other prosecutors can't release suspected abusers' names because they learned of their identities through the secret grand jury process.
He concedes this may mean some abusers could escape public notice. He says that he believes the great bulk of allegations his office reviewed were true; the offenders avoided prosecution, he said, only because the cases legally were too old.
Allen also says he believes the church should disclose the names of the priests who resigned. "They should make the decision to release them as an internal matter, and not kind of punt off to us."
He, however, understands the diocese's reluctance to make public the names of those it believes may have been falsely accused. His assistant says there were at least two cases that he personally reviewed where the complaints didn't check out.
One problem with putting the burden on Allen's office to release the names — besides the secrecy of grand jury proceedings — is that prosecutors there didn't see all of the archdiocese's records. Allen's subpoena, his assistant said, asked only for complaints alleging abuse that occurred in Hamilton County.
Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck said that, in light of the John Jay report, his office is going to double-back and ask the archdiocese if any of the unnamed individuals are accused of abuse in Montgomery County. "We are asking who are they," he said.
Some critics (and would-be reformers) of the church are calling for it to create a clearinghouse to monitor abuse complaints. One person said what's needed is a church "CDC" (referring to the Centers for Disease Control, where reports of diseases and illnesses are tracked). The goal would be to spot priests who have repeated complaints against them, even if the reports can't be substantiated. (There's a difference between not being able to confirm that abuse happened and deciding someone has been falsely accused.)
In the wake of the scandal, the church now should want to know if a certain priest has had multiple complaints against him.
This archdiocese and others have some tough decisions to make. If a priest resigned, and officials suspect he was an abuser, maybe even know he abused, it's an easy decision to release the name. But if someone resigned to avoid being accused of abuse, and the church doesn't think he did anything wrong, disclosing that name is a harder sell.
But because so many church officials have done such a pitiful job judging their priests and deciding when to hand them over to authorities, it's understandable that victims are asking for the names of everybody — no matter the circumstances.
The demand was inevitable.
What the records show
• Of those 81 complaints were against priests previously accused.
• 20 complaints were against 16 priests not previously accused.
• A total of 827 priests served in the Archdiocese between 1950 and 2002.
The local numbers for the 1950 to 2002 time period show 33 priests accused of 87 instances of abuse.
Another 101 new complaints were brought in 2003. Twenty of them were against 16 priests previously not accused, and 81 were against previously accused priests.
The archdiocese did not release the names of the accused priests.
The report will be published in Friday's Catholic Telegraph newspaper of the archdiocese, said archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco.
"We are confronting the sad history of abuse in the church, and we are being as open about it as we can,'' said Andriacco. "This is something no other institution has ever done, so there is no way to compare it to other institutions, but comparison is not really the issue.''
"It's important that we not get lost in the numbers," he said. "Every one of those numbers represents somebody who has been abused by a representative of the church. It's something we regret very much. There is nothing we can do to change the past, but we can confront it and give as complete an accounting as possible, and urge anyone who has an accusation to come forward.''
The numbers reported today are markedly different from those first released by the archdiocese.
On March 14, 2002, Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk confirmed as many as 20 archdiocesan employees had sexually abused children since 1982. That included five priests returned to the ministry. But today's report counts 16 other priests identified after the archbishop's statement as possible abusers.
Many of the 2003 accusations were brought as parts of lawsuits against the archdiocese, Andriacco said. He said the notoriety raised by recent court actions and publicity of abuse undoubtedly prompted many reports of abuse from years past.
He said several people had said they made reports to the church, but there was no record of those reports in the archdiocesan files. "They may have reported it to a parish priest or guidance counselor, and it never got to the chancery office," Andriacco said. He said church regulations since 1993 require that all accusations be reported to the chancery office.
Of the 16 priests accused for the first time in 2003, three are on administrative leave, seven are dead, one was laicized, one left the ministry many years ago without formal laicization and is now dead according to the attorney who brought the allegation, three were not identified by the accuser, and one was later cleared when an accusation was found to be without substance.
The numbers presented in the report are all of the accusations, not only the ones that have been substantiated, Andriacco said. The numbers also include anonymous allegations and allegations that did not identify priests
The 87 accusations against 33 priests from 1950 to 2002 includes one accusation against Cardinal Joseph Bernardin that was later withdrawn.
The report in the Telegraph says, "We don't know how the percentage of offenders compares to society at large or to any other segment of society. What we know is that the only acceptable percentage of priests abusing children is zero.''
The disposition of the 33 priests who were accused from 1950 through 2002 is: 12 placed on administrative leave pending possible permanent removal from the ministry, 11 dead, two voluntarily sought laicization, one dismissed from the ministry, seven whose accusations were investigated and determined to be without substance.
The report says about two thirds of the accusations were about incidents that happened between 1975 and 1984.
From 1950 to 2002, the archdiocese spent a total of about $2.7 million on expenses related to child abuse by priests, including settlements and counseling to help the victims, counseling for priests and related legal fees.
The archdiocese on Nov. 20, 2003 pleaded no contest to charges of failing to report a crime and has established a $3 million fund and a local review board to compensate victims. The plea and the fund were part of a deal with Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen's office.
Allen's office conducted an 18-month investigation into the archdiocese's handling of alleged sexual abuse by priests.
The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops commissioned John Jay College of Criminal Justice to survey all of the 195 dioceses, archdioceses and eparchies of the United States to provide a statistical picture of child abuse by priests since 1950. That report asked the church governing bodies to submit figures from 1950 through 2002.
Andriacco said compliance was not mandatory, but more than 190 or the 195 church bodies complied with the request. He said the archdiocese added the 2003 figures, which were not required by the John Jay College report, to make sure local church members have as much information as possible.
The figures compiled by the Cincinnati Archdiocese and released today and figures compiled by the Covington Diocese and released in August with an update last week, will be included in the report's count, as will reports from other Ohio and Kentucky dioceses.
The Diocese of Covington reports 205 instances of abuse by 35 of its 364 priests from 1950 to February 2004. That's about 9.6 percent of the total diocesan priests.
A CNN report on a draft of the national John Jay report has stated that about 10 percent of the nation's priests have been accused, but the the final number is not available until Friday's formal release of the report.
Andriacco said 14 priests are now on administrative leave, which is the first step to removing them from the priesthood. A bishop or archbishop cannot remove a priest. That must come from the Vatican, Andriacco said. He said laicization, which is a formal request by the priest himself to be released from the priesthood, is often a quicker process.
Andriacco said two have been removed from the ministry since 1993, when the diocese adopted a Decree on Child Abuse that set out specific regulations for dealing with abuse claims and abusive priests.
"Even before the adoption of our first Decree on Child Abuse in 1993, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati long made it a practice to extend pastoral care to survivors of child abuse,'' the archbishop said in his report to the archdiocese in the Telegraph.
"I have met with many victims and I will meet with any others who wish to meet with me, In addition, the Archdiocese has often paid for counseling to help victims. In some cases, the Archdiocese also reached settlements. To my knowledge, these settlements never included a prohibition on the victim reporting the abuse to legal authorities or to anyone else.
"Some victims feel that we have not done enough. I agree -- because
I don't think we can ever do enough. There is no way to fully repaid damage
done to a child.''
• Of those 81 complaints were against priests previously accused.
• 20 complaints were against 16 priests not previously accused.
• A total of 827 priests served in the Archdiocese between 1950
The archdiocese was required to release the information after the United States Conference of Bishops ordered a study on abuse.
The information about past abuse allegations came out Wednesday in the newspaper "The Catholic Telegraph" which is published by the archdioceses.
The report talked not only about past abuse but how the church will deal with future allegations.
As Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk lead a Ash Wednesday Mass many Catholics were just learning about his letter in Wednesday's Catholic Telegraph.
It details that between 1950 and 2003, 188 victims accused 49 priests in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati of sex abuse.
Just days ago, the smaller Diocese of Covington revealed that between 1950 and 2004 it had 205 alleged victims accuse 35 priests of abuse.
Guy Guckenberger Junior said he was abused by a priest at a summer camp when he was 10-years-old.
He has mixed feelings about the report.
"I see good and bad in it. The bad is you're still hearing about allegations. The good is that you've got people talking about allegations," Guckenberger said.
Guckenberger believed there were more victims than the archdiocese has reported.
The survey was done by John Jay College of Criminal Justice and was ordered by the American Catholic Bishops.
Cincinnati church leaders call the study "unparalleled."
"I think it's important to realize that behind every number is a human being. Every incident of reported abuse is someone whose been very hurt. That's something that we feel very deeply and sad about," said Dan Andriocco, Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Archbishop Pilarczyk also wrote that half the abuse allegations were reported in 2003.
And that "some feel that we have not done enough. I agree because I don't think we can ever do enough. There is no way to fully repair damage done to a child."
But one abuse victim said there was one thing that will help fix what happened to him.
"He could do more. He could resign," one abuse victim said.
In previous interviews we have asked the archbishop if he would resign and he said he won't.
In a letter addressing the issue though, he wrote that he promised to remove anyone who is guilty of abuse.
Abuse numbers questioned
By Kevin Eigelbach
"This organization has been criminally convicted for failure to report crimes, but now they want (us) to trust their numbers without seeing their records. I don't buy it.''
The archdiocese reported Wednesday that as many as 49 priests were accused of 188 instances of child abuse from 1950 through 2003. That means about 6 percent of the 833 priests who served in the archdiocese over those years were accused.
About two-thirds of the accusations involved incidents that happened between 1975 and 1984.
The archdiocese and the diocese have reported the same numbers, except those from last year, to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
The conference commissioned the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to survey the country's 195 dioceses, archdioceses and eparchies and produce a statistical picture of child abuse by priests from 1950 through 2002. More than 190 complied.
The report is scheduled to come out Friday.
Only a small minority of abuse victims report their abusers, Kircher said, so it's frightening to think about how many abusive priests were not reported.
That may be true, archdiocese spokesman Dan Andriacco said, but the archdiocese has no way of knowing that.
"This represents the most comprehensive accounting we can make at this time of the abuse perpetuated by priests of the archdiocese," he said.
More than half of the complaints -- 101 -- were brought last year, 81 against previously accused priests and 20 of them against as many as 16 priests not previously accused.
Publicity about abuse cases and lawsuits brought against the archdiocese undoubtedly prompted more reports, Andriacco said.
"We are confronting the sad history of abuse in the church, and we are being as open as we can about it," he said. "This is something no other institution has ever done, so there's no way to compare it to other institutions, but comparison is not really the issue."
It may be true that no other institution has ever done this kind of self-assessment, but "the heart of the matter is that there isn't another (institution) that has to," said Christy Miller, 35, of West Chester.
She heads the local chapter of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a support group for abuse survivors.
One of Kircher's clients, she said she was abused in the early 1980s when she was a freshman and sophomore at Mount Notre Dame High School in Reading.
Much like other perpetrators, the Rev. Tom Brunner, who directed the school's religion department at the time, looked for vulnerability. He found it in her when her brother became critically ill. She said Brunner went to her parents and volunteered to help them by taking her places she needed to go.
After two years of abuse, she said she went to the principal, who went to the archdiocese, whose leadership removed Brunner at the end of the school year.
The archdiocese reported last year that the school principal reported in 1985 that two students made accusations against Brunner that he didn't deny. He left the school and received counseling.
"I know he continued to abuse after me," Miller said. "People should be outraged by this behavior and demand that they stop it immediately."
Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, who leads the archdiocese now, led it then as well, she said.
"I still believe today that they have removed the people they had to, but not them all," she said.
Andriacco said he found it frustrating that people were levying charges that "come out of nowhere."
"What is the basis of that assertion?" he said of Miller's statement. "Why would we do that? Why would we remove some and not others? We've got 14 priests on leave right now" because of sexual abuse accusations, Andriacco said.
Kircher said all his clients have ever gotten from Pilarczyk is "the back of his hand."
The archdiocese has never reached out to the victims or tried to find other victims and offer them help, Kircher said.
"Pilarczyk is still stuck in the old mindset that the church should not be subject to criticism," he said. "I think he feels if the church would truly acknowledge my clients and seek reconciliation, he would somehow demean the reputation of the church."
The archbishop did apologize in the Cincinnati archdiocese report published Wednesday in the Catholic Telegraph.
"I am sorry than any priest has ever abused anyone, and equally sorry that we did not deal with these priests in ways that we now believe appropriate," the archbishop wrote.
He noted in his letter, with the salutation "My dear brothers and sisters in Christ," that "In July 2002, I joined with the other bishops of the United States in voting for new Church law that requires the removal from ministry of any priest against whom there is a credible allegation of abuse and makes that removal permanent if that accusation is substantiated. I have enforced that law in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati."
None of Kircher's clients have settled out of court.
The archdiocese wasn't aware of the great majority of Kircher's victims until they brought suit against the archdiocese, Andriacco said.
"Once you've been sued, you're not in a good position to attempt reconciliation," he said. There are even some legal limits on what kind of contact the archdiocese can have with a person who has legal representation, he said.
The archdiocese has consistently urged victims to come forward, he said, whenever it reports a priest removed for abuse accusations.
Pilarczyk has met with some victims, Andriacco said, and he's willing to meet with any who want to meet with him.
Hamilton County Prosecutor Mike Allen did an 18-month investigation into the archdiocese's handling of alleged sexual abuse by priests.
During the investigation, Allen was forced to subpoena records from the archdiocese, which refused to turn them over to a grand jury.
As a result of that investigation, last November the archdiocese pleaded no contest to charges of failing to report a crime and agreed to set up a $3 million fund to compensate victims. That $3 million is in addition to $2.7 million the archdiocese reported Wednesday that it has paid in connection with abuse allegations.
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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