DIOCESE OF DULUTH MN
More recently, the bishops commissioned the John Jay College of Law to undertake a national study on the size and scope of the problem of sexual abuse of young people perpetrated by clergy who served the Catholic Church in the United States from 1950 through 2002. Their report will be released some time in the near future.
At the present time, I want to share with you what the John Jay College of Law study of the Diocese of Duluth reveals. For the years 1950 through 2002:
Of course, one allegation of sexual misconduct is one allegation too many. Since 1992 the Diocese of Duluth has had in place a Sexual Misconduct Policy that has guided the Diocese's response to allegations. I am committed to ensuring that our parishes, schools, and other Church institutions are safe places where our young people can gather safely. Let me assure you, moreover, that there are no priests in active ministry in the Diocese of Duluth who have been accused of the sexual abuse of a minor. Of the 14 diocesan and 4 religious priests mentioned above, some were deceased at the time of the allegation, some retired, and a few in parish positions which they left in response to the allegation.
Prior to 2002 most dioceses had in place a policy to handle credible allegations of current sexual misconduct/abuse. These policies included mandatory reporting to civil authorities, removal of the alleged perpetrator, and counseling for any victim. The challenge has been to respond to allegations of clergy sexual misconduct/abuse when, reportedly, such actions took place years ago. In some cases, the alleged perpetrator is dead, and there is no corroborating evidence. In these cases, the diocese makes every effort to determine whether such misconduct could have occurred and then responds accordingly.
The cost of clergy sexual misconduct to the Church in Northeast Minnesota these past 50 years has been significant. Victims' lives have been shattered, their faith compromised, the larger community scandalized, and sizeable monies invested in an effort to rebuild lives:
While these figures amount to a staggering sum, they pale in comparison to innocent lives hurt by abuse and the mistrust and alienation of so many other Catholics. I sincerely apologize for the hurt and scandal caused by those who abused their sacred office for sexual gratification.
Please join your prayers to mine for healing and reconciliation. May the God of peace make us perfect in holiness (1 Thess. 5:23)
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Dennis M. Schnurr
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