Bishop Accountability
 
  DIOCESE OF RAPID CITY SD

Accused Priests: 11
Total Priests:
Alleged Victims: 31
Cost: $237,046

See Cathy Lynn Grossman, Survey: More Clergy Abuse Cases Than Previously Thought (2/10/04) with AP table of data for 74 dioceses.

Press Release

February 27, 2004

http://www.rapidcitydiocese.org/OFFICES/wrc/page3_18_0.htm

Most Rev. Blase J. Cupich, Bishop of Rapid City, issued the following statement:

On February 27, 2004, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops released two reports on the scope and nature of the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the U.S. The John Jay Study and the National Review Board Study were conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and were commissioned by the U.S. bishops’ conference.

The John Jay Study contains information about the extent of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. The Diocese of Rapid City cooperated with the study by releasing information pertaining to allegations of sexual abuse by priests assigned to this diocese. The National Review Board Study provides helpful insights, especially in regard to how the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy was dealt with by church leadership.

The Diocese of Rapid City fully supports the efforts that have been made to determine the scope and nature of the tragic events that occurred during the last half of the past century. The conclusions drawn in the studies make it clear that some leaders of the Catholic Church either did not fully understand, or did not acknowledge, the breadth and depth of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. Both studies, while sobering, provide the Catholic Church with yet another opportunity to address this very serious problem.

The Diocese of Rapid City has policies and programs in place that are designed to prevent the occurrence of sexual abuse, including background checks and Safe Environment training for priests and for those staff and volunteers who work with young people. Candidates to the priesthood are carefully screened and undergo psychological testing. A review board, composed mostly of lay persons, deals with allegations of sexual abuse. Victims of clerical sexual abuse can be assured that they will receive pastoral care and healing. They are encouraged to contact me or Fr. Dan Juelfs, the Vicar General, at 605-343-3541 or the victims assistance coordinator, Maryann Tully at 605-209-3418.

The past sexual abuse of minors by clergy has harmed innocent victims, saddened dedicated priests, and challenged the faith of many Catholics. Measures have been, and are being, taken to ensure that this type of tragedy will not happen again in the Catholic Church.

DIOCESE OF RAPID CITY
606 Cathedral Drive
P.O. Box 678
Rapid City, SD 57709-0678

CONTACT: Sharon Zeller
Director of Communications
605-343-3541 (office)
605-348-4857 (home)
605-381-5087 (cell)

Sexual abuse scope, nature are defined

West River Catholic
March 2004

On February 27, the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops released two reports on the sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the U.S. Both the John Jay Report and the National Review Board Study were commissioned by the U.S. bishops’ conference.

The John Jay Report contains information about the scope and nature of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy, according to Bishop Blase J. Cupich.

“The National Review Board Study provides helpful insights into the causes and context of clerical sexual abuse of minors, especially in regard to how the problem was dealt with by Church leadership,” he said.

“The Diocese of Rapid City cooperated with both studies by releasing information pertaining to allegations of sexual abuse by priests assigned to this diocese,” he added.

He said that the Diocese of Rapid City “fully supports the efforts that have been made to investigate and understand the tragic behavior that occurred during the last half of the past century. The conclusions drawn in the reports make it clear that some leaders of the Catholic Church either did not fully understand, or did not acknowledge, the breadth and depth of the problem of sexual abuse of minors by clergy.”

While he agrees past mistakes were made regarding decisions made in situations in which clergy sexually abused minors, the Rapid City bishop is “especially concerned for the faithful clergy who have served the Church so well.”

In a letter to priests of the Diocese of Rapid City, he affirmed the words of Justice Ann M. Burke as she spoke during the National Review Board press conference February 27:

“I want to address a special word of respect and admiration for the priesthood and the priests of the United States,” said Burke. “They are the Lord’s treasured gift to his people. They are men of holiness and generosity. They nourish the people of God by their sacrifice and goodness. I know that the events of this crisis have been a terrible pain for all the faithful priests of our nation. We stand in solidarity with them and their unblemished ministry. We urge all Catholics to be sensitive to the agony this crisis has brought to bear on their clergy who live exemplary lives in the parishes across our nation. While the actions of a small portion of Catholic clergy have been responsible for failing to live responsibly, our words and actions honor the work of all those who have been faithful.”

The Rapid City bishop said that, “while sobering, both reports provide the Catholic Church with yet another opportunity to address this very serious problem.”

He said the Diocese of Rapid City has policies and programs in place that are designed to prevent the occurrence of clerical sexual abuse of minors. Background checks are conducted on priests and on all staff and volunteers who work with young people.

The sexual abuse of minors by clergy has “harmed innocent victims, saddened dedicated priests, and challenged the faith of many Catholics,” the bishop continued. “Measures are being taken at all levels of the Catholic Church to ensure that a tragedy of this nature will not occur again.”


A Safe Environment program has been implemented in all of the parishes. Candidates to the priesthood are carefully screened and undergo psychological testing. A review board, composed mostly of lay people, deals with allegations of clerical sexual abuse. Pastoral care and healing are offered to all victims of clerical sexual abuse.


“Anyone victimized by clerical sexual abuse is encouraged to contact me or the vicar general, Father Dan Juelfs, at 605-343-3541,” the bishop said. “Or they can contact the victims assistance coordinator, Maryann Tully, at 605-209-3418.


 

 
 

Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
     
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