ARCHDIOCESE OF MIAMI FL
In a report released to its 110 parishes, the Roman Catholic archdiocese noted that the accused priests made up just under 1 percent of the 4,302 priests who have served it since it was founded in 1958.
"The sins of a few and the failure of others to respond promptly have seriously damaged the trust that must exist between bishops and priests, bishops and the laity and between priests and their parishioners," Archbishop John C. Favalora wrote in a letter to parishioners.
"I, as the chief shepherd of the archdiocese, express my most sincere apologies," he wrote. "I also apologize for any action or inaction on my part that has lessened your sense of trust in the Catholic Church and its ministers. I encourage those harmed in this way to seek the healing, reconciliation and renewal that come from counseling, prayer and Christian hope."
The Miami Archdiocese is one of several releasing data this month and forwarding it to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York for use in a report commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The national report will tally the number of abuse claims since the 1950's, as well as the costs for settlements with victims, legal fees and therapy.
By Vicky Agnew
The Miami Archdiocese said Sunday it will not release the names of 38 priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors since the archdiocese was founded in 1958.
The names were found in 64 complaints against priests who have died, retired, left the priesthood or are on leave, said Miami Archdiocese spokeswoman Mary Ross Agosta.
"There is no one in active ministry who is any one of these 38 people," Ross Agosta said. "I am not sure what revealing the names of priests who might be dead would achieve at this time ... We are doing our best to make sure anyone who has a credible allegation against them--meaning it could be true -- is not in active ministry."
The list was gathered by a special committee created by Archbishop John C. Favalora and submitted last summer as part of a national survey conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. The results are to be released in February, Ross Agosta said.
"We've checked everything in all the files of anyone who has been a priest and has worked in the Archdiocese of Miami," she said. "Every time we receive a credible allegation, no matter how old it is, it has been reported to the state attorney's office."
No one from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice could be reached for comment.
In a letter to archdiocese members released Saturday, Favalora apologized for the "sins of a few" and called the majority of clergy "a good example," according to The Associated Press.
The report says that 4,302, or 99.1 percent, of the archdiocesan priests have never been accused of sexual misconduct with minors. Favalora decided to release the report Saturday to reassure the Catholic community that the archdiocese is committed to protecting children and helping the community heal, Ross Agosta said.
"The archbishop felt this was the time to do it," she said.
The report does not list a breakdown of when the allegations were made, but at least 17 priests from the archdiocese have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors since January 2002, according to The Associated Press. Miami's archdiocese had paid $9.3 million in settlement, legal and counseling costs to victims of abuse cases since 1958, but has said no parish funds were used to settle any claims.
Vicky Agnew can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or954-385-7922.
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