DIOCESE OF ST. CLOUD MN
In January, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops released the results of an independent study on the extent to which dioceses had implemented the “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” adopted in 2002 in Dallas. In that study, the Diocese of St. Cloud was reported to be in compliance with the norms of the charter and, in addition, received several commendations.
On Feb. 27, a related study will be released. The “Study of the Nature and Scope of Sexual Abuse by Catholic Clergy in the United States” was commissioned by the National Review Board of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York. The “John Jay Study,” as it is often called, is a compilation of the number of incidents, offenders and victims of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy in the United States between 1950 and 2002.
Data for the John Jay Study were collected from all dioceses, eparchies and religious orders of men in the United States. The study was conducted in such a way that the researchers did not know the names of victims and offenders. Therefore, the report will provide a sense of the nature and scope of the problem without breaching confidentiality.
The statistics will represent national figures and will not be broken down diocese by diocese. For that reason, dioceses have been encouraged to report their own statistics before the release of the John Jay Study. I reported our diocesan statistics in my column of July 17, 2003. Now, I would like to review and update those statistics so you can assess them in light of the national study.
The first record the diocese has of a report of clerical sexual abuse of a minor dates to 1982. From 1982 through the end of 2003, there were reports of sexual abuse of 49 minors. These reports regarded incidents that occurred as early as 1950.
From 1950 to the end of 2003, parishes and other institutions of the diocese, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and diocesan and parochial schools, were served by 403 priests. This number represents 302 diocesan priests incardinated in the Diocese of St. Cloud and 101 religious order priests. The reported allegations involve 19 of these diocesan priests and seven of the religious order priests. There have been no allegations of sexual abuse of minors by bishops or permanent deacons who have served in the diocese.
Financial records related to these cases are available only from 1991 to the present because earlier financial records did not distinguish amounts related to sexual abuse. The following summary sets forth the costs to the diocese of sexual abuse of minors by clergy:
• Between 1991 and the end of 2003, the Diocese of St. Cloud paid
$466,246 in settlements to victims.
None of these monies were derived from the Annual Diocesan Appeal (formerly Opus Dei), the Living the Promise Campaign, the Time to Remember Campaign or parish assessments. The amounts specified above came from other sources of income, such as the proceeds of diocesan investments and rental income.
With the upcoming release of the John Jay Study, I again encourage all of us to pray for our church and its members, especially those harmed by sexual misconduct. The abuse of even one person is deplorable and intolerable. I regret that so many of God’s people have been hurt in this way. I continue my urgent appeal for anyone who has been a victim of sexual misconduct by a member of the clergy or representative of the church to come forward in any way you feel is appropriate so we can seek justice and healing.
+ John F. Kinney
The Financial Costs of Abuse
A year ago, I was privileged to hold a series of listening sessions in our diocese to hear your concerns, pain and frustrations over the terrible reality of clergy sexual abuse in our church. It was very difficult to hear how innocent young lives have been damaged by such despicable acts.
At that time, and on many occasions since, I have assured you very deliberately that I will in no way tolerate sexual misconduct of minors. I have promised you that our first priority is the protection of children, the young and the vulnerable, and the care of survivors of abuse. I have joined with Pope John Paul II and the Catholic bishops of our country in a solemn commitment that, as far as is humanly possible, the priesthood will be free of sexual misconduct of minors. I continue to urge any victims to come forward to the diocese.
As promised, I have now completed a comprehensive review of each and every clergy personnel file, past and present, living and deceased, in the Diocese of St. Cloud. In addition, a new policy on sexual misconduct was released on July 1, 2003, and is published in this issue of the St. Cloud Visitor.
For some time now, many have raised questions and concerns about the financial costs associated with cases of clergy sexual misconduct in the diocese. I have just completed a thorough review of diocesan records in order to provide an accurate accounting of clergy sexual abuse of minors cases, how much they have cost and where the monies have come from.
In reviewing the records from 1982 through 2003, there have been 294 priests who have served in our parishes. In that time framework, there have been allegations of sexual abuse of 49 minors involving a total of 26 priests. These figures include 19 diocesan priests incardinated in the Diocese of St. Cloud and seven priests who were members of religious orders. The instances related to these allegations extend as far back as 1950.
The following summary sets forth the financial costs paid in association with all those incidents involving the abuse of minors:
• The Diocese of St. Cloud has paid $109,500 in settlements to victims.
• The amount paid by the diocese for therapy and counseling for victims who were minors was $69,886.68.
• Additional payments were made to some victims who were minors through the insurers of the diocese. These payments included amounts paid for all claims of diocesan priests as well as priests belonging to religious orders.
• The diocese paid $69,459.36 for attorneys' fees and expenses in these cases.
• The insurance premiums the diocese has paid for sexual misconduct coverage from 1995 through 2003 totals $235,693.
The amounts specified above have come exclusively from the proceeds of diocesan investments and rental income. None of these monies have come from the Annual Diocesan Appeal (formerly Opus Dei), the Living the Promise Campaign, the Time to Remember Campaign or from parish assessments.
All of us are to be committed to lives of holiness and prayer. I ask us to continue to pray for our church and all its members, especially for those harmed by sexual misconduct. Pray also for us who are clergy that we may live our vocations with faithfulness and integrity.
I keep each of you in my prayers and ask that you do the same for me as I strive to serve you and the church faithfully.
+John F. Kinney
Any original material on these pages is copyright © BishopAccountability.org 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.
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