ABUSE TRACKER

A digest of links to media coverage of clergy abuse. For recent coverage listed in this blog, read the full article in the newspaper or other media source by clicking “Read original article.” For earlier coverage, click the title to read the original article.

February 1, 2019

Denunciantes de abusos jesuitas exigen a Compañía de Jesús publicar nombres de sacerdotes acusados de delitos sexuales o encubrimiento

[New whistleblower group demands Jesuits publish names of priests accused of sexual crimes or cover-up]

CHILE
The Clinic

February 1, 2019

En una carta abierta acusan que la congregación adoptó una actitud pasiva ante las primeras señales y testimonios de denuncia, y exigen acciones de verdad, justicia y reparación con los sobrevivientes.

A través de una carta abierta a la Compañía de Jesús, el nuevo Grupo de Denunciantes de Abusos Jesuitas critica a la congregación por haber hecho caso omiso a las primeras señales o testimonios de delitos sexuales, y la emplaza a publicar los nombres de todos los sacerdotes o profesores acusados, el tipo de abusos cometidos y el estado actual del proceso de investigación o condena aplicada.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Opus Dei says 1 of its priests in Chile is probed for abuse

SANTIAGO (CHILE)
Associated Press

February 1, 2019

The Opus Dei movement says that one of its priests in Chile is being investigated for allegedly abusing underage minors.

The conservative movement said in a statement Friday that 82-year-old Patricio Astorquiza has been accused of prolonged harassment and abuse “with possible sexual connotation” against two minors.

Chile’s entire Catholic hierarchy has been humiliated in a mushrooming sexual abuse and coverup scandal. The Opus Dei had been spared until now.

Astorquiza has been banned from officiating Mass. He had been questioned starting late last year, even before the two alleged victims filed their complaints. The priest has been banned from officiating mass in public.

The Opus Dei said that it will send the result of the investigation to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

José Andrés Murillo: desde la Compañía de Jesús me reconocieron que “todos sabíamos que Renato Poblete era mujeriego”

[José Andrés Murillo: Members of Society of Jesus admit “we all knew Renato Poblete was a womanizer”]

CHILE
El Mostrador

January 30, 2019

Tras la denuncia de Marcela Aranda contra el emblemático capellán del Hogar de Cristo, la Compañía de Jesús abrió una investigación que puso en manos del abogado laico Waldo Bown, y además admitió que hay más casos, sin dar detalles ni precisar cifras. Sin embargo, el director de la Fundación Para la Confianza y denunciante del cura Fernando Karadima reveló que ya van cerca de 8 testimonios de víctimas.

El director de la Fundación para la Confianza y denunciante de Fernando Karadima, José Andrés Murillo, aseguró que “ya van cerca de ocho testimonios de víctimas” del excapellán del Hogar de Cristo Renato Poblete Barth y que desde el interior de la Compañía de Jesús le reconocieron que era un secreto a voces el comportamiento del emblemático cura.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Víctimas de abusos: “La Compañía de Jesús ha tenido una directa responsabilidad institucional en estos casos”

[Abuse victims say: “The Society of Jesus has a direct institutional responsibility in these cases”]

CHILE
El Mostrador

January 31, 2019

Una carta abierta a la Compañía de Jesús envió un grupo de denunciantes de abusos por parte de sacerdotes de esta comunidad religiosa, en donde señalan que la congregación “tiene hoy el deber y la gran oportunidad de apuntar a la total transparencia, corregir el rumbo, reconocer sus errores, pedir perdón como institución, cerrar bien los procesos en curso y proponer acciones concretas”.

La agrupación que reúne a denunciantes de abusos por parte de jesuitas acusó un “grave” encubrimiento de la congregación a los delitos cometidos por sacerdotes y señalaron que “la Compañía de Jesús ha tenido una directa responsabilidad institucional en estos casos, que es incluso más grave que los delitos individuales de algunos de sus miembros”.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Nearly 300 priests and clergy in Texas accused of sex abuse over decades

NEW YORK (NY)
ABC News

February 1, 2019

By Meghan Keneally

Nearly 300 priests and clergy members of the Catholic dioceses in Texas were identified this week for alleged sexual abuse of minors.

In total, 14 archdioceses and dioceses in Texas released their lists on Tuesday, making them the latest in a string of disclosures by Catholic Church bodies across the country. The Diocese of Laredo announced that there were no credible accusations in its region.

All of the lists name the accused priests and clergy members as well as their assignments, but they differed in the amount details they disclosed about the alleged abuses, the timing of the abuse and whether they resulted in any disciplinary action.

For example, The Diocese of Amarillo, which detailed the accusations against its priests, noted that one priest was the subject of 16 allegations.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Víctimas de abuso sexual en colegios Maristas exigen a la iglesia no financiar defensa de sacerdotes responsables

[Victims of sexual abuse in Marist schools demand that the church not fund priests’ defense]

CHILE
Publimetro

January 31, 2019

El grupo, manifestó que mientras la iglesia financia abogados, hay víctimas que no se atreven a iniciar acciones legales por no contar con profesionales del derecho, viéndose obligados a ser asesorados por practicantes.

Las víctimas de abuso y violación en los colegios Maristas solicitaron a la Iglesia dejar de financiar las defensas de los responsables de delitos, como el del encubrimiento, indicando que la jerarquía ha guardado silencio en muchos casos.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Ingresa en prisión un cura por un delito de pederastia en Málaga

[A priest goes to prison for child pornography in Malaga]

MALAGA (SPAIN)
El País

February 1, 2019

By Nacho Sánchez

Un sacerdote ha ingresado en prisión por un presunto delito de corrupción de menores y abusos sexuales. Según han explicado fuentes del Tribunal Superior de Justicia de Andalucía (TSJA), el clérigo fue detenido el pasado lunes y puesto a disposición judicial. Ese mismo día declaró ante el juzgado de instrucción 12 de Málaga, que decretó su entrada en la cárcel ese mismo día. Este ha sido el segundo arresto del cura, que el pasado mes de agosto fue detenido en la llamada operación Sandrina por posesión de pornografía infantil.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

“Vi con mis propios ojos los tocamientos en el confesionario”

[“I saw with my own eyes the touching in the confessional”]

GIRONA (SPAIN)
El País

February 1, 2019

By Marta Rodríguez

El alcalde de Báscara, Narcís Saurina, asegura haber presenciado los abusos del expárraco de Vilobí d’Onyar investigado por el Obispado de Girona

El alcalde del pequeño municipio gerundés de Báscara, Narcís Saurina, asegura que fue testigo de los presuntos abusos que cometió, durante décadas, monseñor Tomàs Pons, el expárraco de Vilobí d’Onyar investigado por el Obispado de Girona. Saurina lo conoció cuando él estudiaba en el colegio Bell-lloc de Girona, donde Pons era profesor. El ahora alcalde de Báscara y algunos de sus compañeros de clase simulaban ir a confesarse para no ir a clase y se escondían en una zona oscura desde la que veían los confesionarios. Allí lo presenció todo. Él y otros exalumnos, insiste. “Vi con mis propios ojos los tocamientos en el confesionario”, sentencia.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Vaticano abre proceso penal contra Diego Ossa, sacerdote del círculo de Karadima

[Vatican opens criminal proceedings against Diego Ossa, priest in Karadima’s circle]

CHILE
La Tercera

January 31, 2019

By María José Navarrete

La investigación durará 60 días. Hasta agosto de 2018, el presbítero se desempeñaba como vicario en una parroquia de Ñuñoa. Uno de los denunciantes, Óscar Osbén, relató a La Tercera los abusos que habría cometido el sacerdote.

“Yo a los 30 años de edad recién pude tomar decisiones que no fueran consultadas por mi director espiritual. Entre los 13 y 28 años, mis decisiones fueron manejadas por Diego Ossa”. Así describe Óscar Osbén Moscoso, denunciante del sacerdote diocesano, su relación con quien fue su director espiritual, al relatar los abusos de poder y de conciencia que se habrían cometido en su contra desde que era menor de edad.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

El turno del Opus Dei: informan dos denuncias contra sacerdote Patricio Astorquiza

[Opus Dei’s turn: two accusations against priest Patricio Astorquiza]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 1, 2019

By Carlos Reyes

Se refieren a un acoso persistente en el tiempo y a un abuso de conciencia, ambas con posible connotación sexual”, indicaron en un comunicado.

El Opus Dei informó esta jornada que en los últimos meses han recibido dos denuncias contra el sacerdote de la Prelatura del Opus Dei Patricio Astorquiza (82 años).

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Cardenal Ezzati se juega su última carta para impedir que la Fiscalía lo investigue como encubridor de abusos

[Cardinal Ezzati plays his last card to block prosecutor’s abuse investigation]

CHILE
La Tercera

February 1, 2019

By Leslie Ayala C.

Su abogado, el reconocido penalista Hugo Rivera, apeló ante la Corte capitalina para que sean estos tribunales superiores los que sobresean definitivamente la causa en que el ex arzobispo de Santiago tiene calidad de imputado.

El magistrado Eduardo Gallardo –titular del 13° Juzgado de Garantía de Santiago- citó al ex supremo Milton Juica al momento de rechazar el sobreseimiento definitivo de la causa por encubrimientos en la Iglesia católica chilena que estaba solicitando el cardenal Ricardo Ezzati. El miércoles 30 dijo enfático: “Me parece que en una investigación desformalizada, vulgarmente ‘matar el caso’, sin permitirle al Ministerio Público –precisamente- ejercer ese rol institucional sería una decisión hoy día a mi juicio premeditar, porqué sí creo que hay algo susceptible de ser investigado “.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Retired WA priest extradited to Britain on sex assault charges

CANBERRA (AUSTRALIA)
Canberra Times

February 1, 2019

By Nick Miller

An Anglican priest from Perth, Western Australia, has been extradited to Britain to face sex assault charges dating back to the 1970s and 80s.

Meirion Griffiths, 80, from Maddington in Perth, was charged on an extradition warrant issued by Westminster magistrates court in London in December 2016, Sussex police said.

The warrant alleges that he committed several indecent assaults against a girl then in her late teens in the mid-1970s, and several indecent assaults against a woman then in her mid-20s in 1982.

The offences allegedly took place in West Sussex. At the time of the alleged offences Griffiths was Church of England vicar of St Pancras in Chichester, police said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Chichester is a cathedral city near the English south coast, between Southampton and Brighton.

Griffiths arrived at Heathrow from Australia on Thursday in the custody of Sussex Police officers.

He appeared in court the same day, pleaded not guilty and was remanded in custody to appear at Portsmouth Crown Court on March 1, the police statement said.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Diocese of Lake Charles says it is working on list of credibly accused priests

LAKE CHARLES (LA)
KPLC TV

February 1, 2019

The Catholic Diocese of Lake Charles says it is working on a list of credibly accused priests.

The Diocese released the statement to KPLC after the Catholic Diocese of Baton Rouge on Thursday released a list of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

Diocese statement:

The Diocese of Lake Charles is presently reviewing all files with the help of experienced personnel. Once this process is complete, an objective panel of professionals with expertise in law will assess the files and a list will be compiled that is thorough, transparent, just and truthful. The concern of the clergy and laity of the Diocese remains the victims of sexual abuse.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Greater transparency: Church abuse victim sees chance for justice

GENEVA (NY)
Finger Lakes Times

By Steve Buchiere

When a bill that would extend the statute of limitations on child molestation cases breezed through the state Legislature this past week, there weren’t many people happier than Peter Saracino.

Saracino, a native of Seneca Falls and a retired Marcus Whitman teacher, says a Capuchin priest at a former Catholic seminary in Geneva abused him when he was 8 or 9.

The former Geneva seminary on Lochland Road was run by the Capuchin Friars of the Province of the Sacred Stigmata of Union City, N.J. It is now the upscale Geneva On the Lake resort.

In a meeting with local press last summer, Saracino made public the name of his accuser, whom he said Monday is still an active priest in New Jersey. He provided a photo as well.

The Finger Lakes Times has not divulged his name because there has been no official acknowledgement of the abuse by the Order.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Cardinal Dolan criticizes Cuomo for ‘stinging criticism’ of church

NEW YORK (NY)
Catholic News Service

February 1, 2019

New York Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan in a Sirius XM broadcast Jan. 29 criticized Gov. Andrew Cuomo for his “stinging criticism of the Catholic Church” in singling out Catholics over the crisis surrounding the sexual abuse of minors.”

“He really caricatured the church and only the church, singling it out for the sexual abuse of minors and contesting that we were the ones that had blocked the Child Victims Act,” Cardinal Dolan told Father Dave Dwyer, co-host of “Conversation With Cardinal Dolan,” which airs every Tuesday afternoon on Sirius XM’s The Catholic Channel.

“And then misquoting, taking out of context, Pope Francis, and to flaunt his dissent from established church teaching and to use all that as an applause line,” the cardinal said of the governor.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Vatican magazine denounces sexual abuse of nuns by priests

VATICAN CITY
The Associated Press

February 1, 2019

By Nicole Winfield

The Vatican’s women’s magazine is denouncing the sexual abuse of nuns by priests — and the resulting “scandal” of religious sisters having abortions or giving birth to children who are then not recognized by their fathers.

The February issue of “Women Church World,” a monthly magazine distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, was published Friday. It cited Pope Francis’ own analysis of abuse by saying clerical power was at the root of the problem.

It said nuns have been silenced for years by fear of retaliation against themselves or their orders if they report the priests who molested them.

The publication marks a significant public acknowledgment from inside the Vatican of the problem that the Holy See has long known about but has done next to nothing to address.

Last year, after The Associated Press and other media reported on the scandal, the international association of women’s religious orders urged sisters to report abuse to police and their superiors, a significant shattering of the silence that has long kept the problem secret.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

This Nun Is Fighting To End Sexual Abuse In India’s Churches Despite Threats

INDIA
HuffPost India

January 31, 2019

By Piyasree Dasgupta and Meryl Sebastian

Going against the church is equivalent to going against the entire society for nuns, but Lucy Kalapura is not perturbed.

When Bishop Franco Mulakkal returned to the Jalandhar diocese in October after spending 21 days in jail, his supporters welcomed him back with massive garlands and showers of rose petals. As images of the hero’s welcome given to the rape-accused priest filled her TV screen and social media timeline, something snapped in sister Lucy Kalapura.

The 52 year old, who has been a nun for more than three decades, had often heard stories of powerful men of the cloth sexually abusing women and sometimes children. But the Mulakkal case shook her.

“I couldn’t believe how relentless it was. I heard the man raped her 13 times,” Kalapura told HuffPost India.

It was in June 2018 that a nun from a convent in Kottayam’s Kuruvilangad filed a police complaint, accusing Mulakkal of sexually abusing her multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

As news of the assault broke, a few nuns from the survivor’s congregation, the Missionaries of Jesus, began protesting, demanding that action be taken against Mulakkal.

Kalapura waited, expecting more women from convents to take to the streets to demand Mulakkal’s arrest.

“Forget the Bishop being arrested, I realised more and more women were going against the nun who complained,” said Kalapura, who belongs to the Franciscan Clarist Congregation.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Think McQuaid’s priest abuse list is complete? Our investigation shows it’s not

ROCHESTER (NY)
Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

January 31, 2019

By Sean Lahman and Steve Orr

MORE VICTIMS HAVE REACHED OUT TO THE DEMOCRAT AND CHRONICLE AND BRIGHTON POLICE ABOUT ALLEGED ABUSE AT MCQUAID JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL.

When Tom Chiarella read last month about sexual abuse allegations against seven priests once assigned to his alma mater, McQuaid Jesuit High School, he was sick to his stomach.

Chiarella had known that sexual abuse had occurred at the Brighton secondary school because he was a victim of it. The trauma hung over his head for years before he could find a way out.

His personal escape culminated in the bold step of telling the world what had happened to him in an article for Esquire magazine in 2003 called “My Education.” Chiarella recounted how French teacher John J. Tobin had harassed, stalked and sexually abused him between 1975 and his graduation in 1979.

What disturbed Chiarella were allegations that came to light Jan. 15, when a regional Jesuit organization named 50 priests who had been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors. Seven of those priests once taught at McQuaid.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Haitian Times News Roundup – Feb. 1

HAITI
The Haitian Times

February 1, 2019

Haitian Men to be Compensated Following Sexual Assault Case

More than 130 young men may receive $60 million in damages after a couple of Jesuit men was found guilty of sexually assaulting the young men. The proposed settlement seeks to compensate anyone who has been sexually assaulted by Douglas Perlitz, one of the founders of Pierre Toussaint school in Cap-Haitien, and Reverend Paul Carrier, between January 1, 1996 and July 1, 2009. If approved by a Connecticut federal judge, this $ 60 million deal will be the second of its kind, resulting. In 2013 lawyer Mitchell Garabedian received $12 million for 24 Haitian teenagers claiming to have been sexually assaulted by Perlitz, radio Television Caraibes reports.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Former Perth Anglican Archbishop Roger Herft could be ‘de-frocked’ amid royal commission into child abuse findings

PERTH (AUSTRALIA)
PerthNow

January 31, 2019

By Nick Butterly

The former Anglican Archbishop of Perth Roger Herft is to face a significant internal investigation that could ultimately see him stripped of any right to officiate as a priest.

In a statement, the Anglican Church’s Episcopal Standards Commission confirmed it was investigating complaints about the conduct of the former Archbishop following his appearance before the child abuse royal commission in 2016.

Archbishop Herft resigned from his position as Perth’s most senior Anglican in 2016 after admitting he let down survivors of child sexual abuse when he was Bishop of Newcastle

[ New South Wales, Australia ] between 1993 and 2005.

At the time the resignation marked Archbishop Herft as one of the most senior casualties of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual abuse.

“Complaints about the conduct of Bishop Roger Herft when he was Bishop of Newcastle are being investigated by the Episcopal Standards Commission, the Anglican authority for dealing with allegations about bishops,” a spokesperson for the commission said.

“The conduct of Bishop Herft and other Newcastle bishops and leaders was examined by the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse in Case Study 42, published in November 2017.

“The Episcopal Standards Commission is investigating the many issues which arise from the information it has received. It will determine its course of action as soon as it can.”

In hearings in 2016 the Royal Commission heard how Archbishop Herft had mishandled a series of horrific abuse cases and had been “wilfully blind” to the criminal conduct of clergy under his authority.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Diocese of Baton Rouge Releases Names of Accused Priests

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

February 1, 2019

Yesterday, the Diocese of Baton Rouge, LA released a list of priests that have been accused of abuse.

We are grateful for this development. Releasing these names publicly is crucial not only for the healing of survivors, but also to encourage victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and to help deter future clergy sex crimes and cover ups. However, releasing these names is only the first step on the path towards healing and deterrence.

It is notable that Bishop Michael Duca went a step further than many of his brother bishops in ensuring that his list also includes the date that the allegations were first received as well as what action was taken by church officials and when. SNAP has been asking for this kind of transparency.

Yet we still believe that there should be an independent investigation by independent governmental officials into clergy sex abuse and cover ups in Louisiana. We encourage Bishop Duca to continue showing other Catholic officials the right way to do things by personally appealing to Attorney General Jeff Landry to launch an investigation into his diocese and other dioceses in the state. Only trained law enforcement professionals can truly judge when an accusation is “credible” or not and compel full transparency.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Vatican women’s magazine condemns sexual abuse of nuns by priests

LONDON (ENGLAND)
The Tablet

February 1, 2019

By Rose Gamble

The sexual abuse of nuns by priests and the resulting “scandal” of religious sisters having abortions or giving birth to children not recognised by their fathers has been condemned in an article in the Vatican’s women’s magazine, published on Friday (1 February).

The February issue of “Women Church World,” distributed alongside the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, says that religious sisters for years have not reported offences against them by priests for fear of retaliation.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Statements from Texas bishops on clergy credibly accused of abuse

WASHINGTON (DC)
Catholic News Service

February 1, 2019

The following are excerpts of statements made by the bishops of several Texas dioceses Jan. 31 on the disclosure of the names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sex abuse of minors. The lists from all 15 Texas dioceses included the names of 278 clergy dating to 1950.

From Bishop Patrick Zurek of Amarillo: “The Diocese of Amarillo seeks to express regret and apologizes for the failing and sins that have hurt the church so deeply, especially in our most vulnerable members. The diocese especially asks forgiveness for the failings of those who have held positions of leadership in the church.”

From Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin: “With a contrite heart, today I have published a list of clergy and religious who have been credibly accused of committing sexual abuse against a minor. … It is my prayer and hope that publishing this list will help to bring healing from the hurt and anger caused by the lack of accountability and transparency on the part of church leadership.

“The victims of sexual abuse by clergy have experienced much pain; we must continue to pray and care for our brothers and sisters who have suffered greatly. I apologize to the victims and their families for the diocese’s failures. The church must always be willing to recognize and correct its failings.”

From Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville: “An accurate accounting of the past is necessary for us to move forward with integrity. I and the bishops in Texas believe that releasing the names after an exhaustive review of the files will contribute to restore trust and healing. The humble and honest acceptance of the truth calls us to move forward in poverty of spirit for purification and renewal. We must think of the victims first and be sensitive to any renewed pain this release may cause.

“In these times of sorrowful purification, we know that by prayer and penance we journey together in the Lord. As I shared with you in September in a letter published in our diocesan newspaper, it is necessary now more than ever, that we dedicate ourselves anew as a people of faith to the work the Lord has commended to us, to bind the wounds of the broken-hearted and announce the power of his grace that is greater than any evil. Let us preach the Gospel, serve the poor, practice evangelical virtues, pray for sinners, and always hope in the triumph of grace over sin.”

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Oakland Diocese Moves Towards Publishing Sex Offender List as New Allegations Surface

OAKLAND (CA)
KQED Radio

February 1, 2019

By Rachael Myrow

After a lengthy delay, the Diocese of Oakland says it is getting closer to releasing a list of priests credibly accused of sexual misconduct.

Professing a commitment to protect children, Bishop Michael Barber wrote in a blog post for the Catholic Voice website, published on Oct. 8, 2018, that he planned to release the list within 45 days.

“Over the years, we have been continually revising and improving our accountability process, reinforcing our commitment to protect children, utilizing background checks and mandatory safe environment training for all church employees and volunteers,” wrote Barber. “I have instructed my staff to prioritize this work while also recognizing the importance of making the list as accurate as possible.”

It has been more than three months since Barber wrote the post.

San Jose Diocese Names 15 Clergy Accused of Child Sexual Abuse, But Critics Say the List Falls Short

Stephen Wilcox, the Oakland Diocese chancellor and victims assistance coordinator, said Barber’s timeframe was too aggressive.

“It’s a complicated process,” Wilcox said. “There’s a lot of files to go through. And we committed to a pretty big task.”

Dan McNevin, a spokesman for the national support organization Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, called Barber’s delay a “cover-up.”

“I now believe he delayed it because this case was perking along,” McNevin said. “He didn’t want to expose it.”

The case in question centers on new allegations that surfaced this week against an East Bay priest. The Oakland Diocese has placed Father Alex Castillo on administrative leave as it investigates allegations of sexual misconduct involving a minor. Castillo was ordained in 2011 and has served at parishes in Oakley and Fremont.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Top Vatican Official Investigating Sex Abuse Resigns After Being Accused Of Sex Abuse

Patheos blog

January 31, 2019

By Michael Stone

Another creepy priest: A top Vatican official in charge of investigating sex abuse in the Catholic Church has resigned from the position after being accused of sexual abuse himself.

The Washington Post reports:
A Vatican official who handles sexual abuse cases for the Catholic Church has quit two months after being accused of sexual abuse.

On Monday, Hermann Geissler resigned from his position as chief of staff in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a body that handles discipline in sexual abuse cases within the Catholic Church, according to a statement from the Holy See’s press office.

According to the report, Father Geissler is accused of sexually harassing women while they were in confession. One victim, former nun Doris Wagner, explained her experience with the abusive priest while she was in confession:

He would keep me there kneeling in front of him for hours, and he would tell me how much he liked me and that he knew that I liked him and even though we couldn’t marry, there would be other ways. At some point, he would try to hold me and kiss me, and I simply panicked and ran out of the room.

Note: This is an Abuse Tracker excerpt. Click the title to view the full text of the original article. If the original article is no longer available, see our News Archive.

Parents of priest abuse victim hopes others come forward

CORPUS CHRISTI (TX)
KZTV TV

February 1, 2019

A Tynan family of a victim of sex abuse by a Catholic priest isn’t sure what purpose the release of the names of credibly accused priests really serves. They only hope others who have been victimized will come forward and begin their own healing.

Jimmy and Sheryl Hunt say they’ve been fighting for justice for years for their daughter. Their daughter was raped by a priest in their home seven years ago They got it last February when a Bee County jury found Father Stephen Dougherty guilty of sexual assault.

Father Stephen Dougherty’s name is on the list released by the Diocese of Corpus Christi today. He is serving a 60-year prison sentence for sexual assault.

Sheryl Hunt is sharing her daughter’s story to help other people who may have been abused and never said anything. She says her child said nothing for years, and then troubling signs started to show when she was around 12 years old. Finally, in 2015, the girl revealed that Dougherty had raped her three years earlier.

“Never give up, never give up on your child. If your child even hints something, you as a parent have the responsibility to believe them. And keep on until you get the truth,” said Sheryl Hunt, mother of the sex abuse victim.

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Priest found not guilty of indecently assaulting altar boy

DUBLIN (IRELAND)
Irish Times

February 1, 2019

By David Raliegh

A priest has been found not guilty by a jury on eight counts of indecently assaulting an altar boy in Munster 30 years ago.

The accused had contested all of the charges which related to various dates between 1988 and 1990.

The trial at Limerick Circuit Court heard allegations the priest masturbated himself while the boy was on his lap, and that he had placed his hands inside the boy’s underwear.

The prosecution had alleged the assaults took place at time when the boy was carrying out menial jobs at the priest’s home, such as washing the priest’s car, cutting his lawn, and carrying out painting work.

On Thursday, the accused denied he carried out the alleged assaults, and said he had “no recollection” of the boy ever coming to his home to carry out this work.

The accused, who stepped aside from ministry following the allegations, agreed with Lily Buckley BL, for the prosecution, that he organised and went on outings with altar boys at the time of the alleged assaults on the injured party.

The accused agreed also he was in a position of “great trust” in his parish.

The alleged injured party’s mother told gardaí she remembered her son going to the priest’s house to cut his grass around the time of the alleged offences.

When asked by Ms Buckley if the boy’s mother was “a liar”, the priest replied: “I’m not saying that. I’m saying I have no recollection.”

The accused said he was “shocked” when gardai contacted him about the allegations.

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Report names 80-plus alleged predator priests over 6 decades in San Bernardino parishes

LOS ANGELES (CA)
Los Angeles Times

January 31, 2019

By Laura Newberry

A Minnesota-based law firm has released a report chronicling decades of alleged sexual abuse by clergy within the San Bernardino Diocese.

In October, the diocese released its own list of 34 priests who had been accused of abusing children. In the new report, released Thursday, Jeff Anderson & Associates of Minnesota contend that the diocese has not been fully transparent about the extent of sexual misconduct within the district.

“San Bernardino has disclosed in the past a certain number of offenders,” said Mike Reck, an attorney for the firm. “We know and believe and can prove that their list is incomplete.”

The report names more than 80 clergy members accused of sexual misconduct dating back to the 1950s. Most of the claims brought against these clerics have been settled or have not been fully evaluated in court, according to the report.

The firm notes that when the diocese released its list, it did not include accused priests who worked within the existing geographical bounds of the San Bernardino Diocese before it was formed in 1978. Before that year, the Diocese of San Diego represented parishes in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

The names of accused clergy obtained by the firm were found in lawsuits, newspaper articles and reports from other dioceses, according to Reck. The firm also included priests who were accused of sexual misconduct elsewhere but worked in the San Bernardino Diocese at some point.

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KCK archdiocese left six priests off list of clergy who abused minors, group says

KANSAS CITY (KS)
Kansas City Star

January 31, 2019

By Judy L. Thomas

The Catholic Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas failed to include six priests on a list it released last week of 22 clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors, a victims’ advocate group said Thursday.

“The allegations arose elsewhere, but these six publicly accused child-molesting priests worked at some point in or around Kansas City, Kansas,” said David Clohessy, former national director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. “Therefore, they could very well have molested here, too.”

The six priests, Clohessy said, have either been convicted, sued or publicly exposed by Catholic

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The ‘Annus Horribilis’ (Terrible Year) of the Roman Catholic Church

BARCELONA (SPAIN)
Evangelical Focus blog

February 1, 2019

By Leonardo De Chirico

Stable. Traditional. Consistent. For many this has been the image of the Roman Catholic Church. But that was ages ago.

The present-day situation appears to be quite different: uncertain, scrutinized, wavering. The public image of the Roman Catholic Church now is that of a disrupted institution going through a season of internal turmoil. Here are few signs of the current crisis.

Annus Horribilis In September 2016, four cardinals sent to the Pope five questions (in Latin “dubia”, doubts). These questions gave voice to the “grave disorientation and great confusion” that exist in the Catholic community concerning the interpretation of key parts of Amoris Laetitia, the papal document that relaxes access to the sacraments by the divorced. In July 2017, more than 200 Catholic priests and intellectuals from around the world wrote “a filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies” to the Pope, thus elevating the tone of the criticism to the denunciation of doctrinal deviations.

At the end of July 2017, Father Thomas Weinandy, a former chief of staff for the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine and a current member of the Vatican’s International Theological Commission, made public a letter sent to the Pope. In it, he argued that “a chronic confusion seems to mark your pontificate obscured by the ambiguity of your words and actions. This fosters within the faithful a growing unease. It compromises their capacity for love, joy and peace”.

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Why Releasing Names Of Accused Texas Clergy Abusers Will Be Triggering For Survivors, But Healing

AUSTIN (TX)
KUT Radio News

January 31, 2019

By Laura Rice

On Thursday, 15 Texas Catholic dioceses plan to release a list of bishops, priests and other Catholic clergy who, according to the church itself, have been “credibly accused of sexually assaulting minors.”
The list is reported to include those alleged of abuse as far back as the 1950s; for many of these cases, it’s the first time they’re getting any public scrutiny. There are more than 4.5 million Catholic Texans, according to the Texas Almanac, and it’s the single largest religious community in the state.

The church itself is making the determination of whether an accusation is credible or not, and the release of the list doesn’t mean any criminal charges have been filed against the alleged abusers. In a church newsletter obtained by Houston TV station KPRC, which is set for release on Sunday, church leaders appear to anticipate fallout among parishioners. “There is no excuse for such acts, and clergy should be held to the highest standard.”

Many have been waiting for this day since last October when the church announced it was preparing the list. Patti Koo leads the San Antonio chapter of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Despite the potential fallout from the lists, Koo says it will also be an empowering experience for abuse survivors.

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Accused Hartford Diocese priest gets questioned in video deposition

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

February 1, 2019

By Sabrina Herrera

This is a video conference deposition of Father Daniel F. McSheffery taken on Nov. 11, 2005 as part of a series of lawsuits filed by attorney Joel Faxon starting in 2002.

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The rise and fall of Rev. Daniel McSheffery, the ‘sickest, sociopathic monster ever to wear a Roman Catholic collar in Connecticut’

HARTFORD (CT)
Hartford Courant

February 1, 2019

By Dave Altimari

A grainy photograph from 1964 shows a collar-wearing Rev. Daniel McSheffery receiving his badge from Hartford’s city manager and fire chief – the young priest towering over the city officials appointing him fire chaplain.

It was the beginning of the ascendancy of Hartford-born McSheffery: over the next eight years he became head administrator of the local Catholic school and the archdiocese’s first-ever pastor-associate. In time, he grew so close to city and state officials that in 1972 the city declared a “Daniel McSheffery Day.” More than 600 people turned out for a dinner honoring him at the Valle’s steakhouse where the keynote speaker was state Attorney General Robert Killian.

But by 2005, McSheffery was sitting at a table in a nondescript Florida office, his eyes avoiding a video camera fixed on him. During that lawsuit deposition, he was confronted with a long list of individuals who accused the church’s former rising star of sexually assaulting them when they were children.

He was asked whether he had assaulted each accuser. Over 35 minutes, McSheffery declined to answer 56 times, citing his Fifth Amendment rights against answering even basic questions like where he was born. When attorney Joel Faxon asked him pointed questions about accusations of raping young boys in church rectories and school offices, McSheffery avoided eye contact, removed his glasses, rubbed his eyes and shrunk his 6-foot-4 body deeper into his chair.

Last week the Archdiocese of Hartford released a list of priests who had been “credibly accused” of molesting children and revealed it had paid $50.6 million to settle lawsuits. It said there was one priest who had 20 claims settled against him for nearly $11 million.

While the archdiocese did not identify that priest, The Courant has determined through court records and interviews with attorneys that it is McSheffery. The 20 claims making him the second-most sued in Connecticut history, just shy of the 21 claims made against former priest Raymond Pcolka from the Bridgeport Diocese.

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Former child abuse victims, advocates push Tennessee to end its expiration date for seeking justice

NASHVILLE (TN)
Nashville Tennessean

February 1, 2019

By Holly Meyer

The sexual abuse started when Scott Walker was 11 years old.

Walker says a young man who befriended him in the late 1980s in their Murfreesboro neighborhood repeatedly raped him until he was 12. But Walker kept quiet and turned to alcohol.

More than a quarter of a century would pass before Walker, then a few years sober, would report the sexual abuse to police. But by then it was too late. The crime was too old to prosecute, the local authorities would tell him.

So eventually, Walker, who is the president of WGNS radio in Murfreesboro, went to his state lawmakers and asked them to help him change the law by eliminating the statute of limitations on child felony sex abuse crimes in Tennessee. Statutes of limitations, intended to protect people from unfair prosecution, put an expiration date on pursuing legal action.
Unbeknownst to Walker, it would not be long before other ordinary Tennesseans would start their own fights for the same change he wanted.

But Walker’s solo quest is what put him in front of panels of lawmakers last spring, recounting the sexual trauma he suffered as a child and the 20-plus years of drinking that followed. His testimony helped. The Tennessee General Assembly directed a state commission to study the matter and report back.

“I’m glad that I was able to give words to hopefully make a difference,” Walker said in a recent interview.

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Our Views: BR diocese grapples with shameful legacy of abuse

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Advocate

February 1, 2019

In a few weeks, Catholics in south Louisiana will join with Christian communities across the world in observing Lent, a season of somber self-appraisal and reflection on the church calendar.

But the Diocese of Baton Rouge isn’t waiting for Ash Wednesday to acknowledge grievous lapses of heart and mind that have shaken the church’s credibility. On Thursday, the diocese released a list of some three dozen clergy who had been “credibly accused” of sexually abusing minors over the past few decades.

Victims of abuse have already waited too long for help from a church where they had sought spiritual comfort, only to be harmed by those in positions of sacred trust. While that shameful past can’t be changed, Thursday’s release of accused clergy is a necessary step toward reform.

“It is hard to publish this list for all to see, but real renewal and healing cannot take place until we acknowledge the truth of our past,” Bishop Michael Duca, who was appointed last year to lead the diocese, wrote in a letter earlier this month. “Yet even though in this moment we are rightly brought low, I have not lost hope.”

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Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) to Texas Bishops: it’s not enough

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 31, 2019

SNAP applauds the release of lists but says that true transparency comes through investigations and urge independent authorities to “trust but verify.”

As advocates and survivors of clergy sexual abuse, we believe that any and all transparency is to be applauded coming from a closed and secret culture such as the Roman Catholic Church. The releasing of these names is at least one small step towards transparency. Still, we are concerned that these lists might not be as transparent as promised.

We recently learned in places like Buffalo, Pennsylvania and Illinois that the dioceses have not been forthright in disclosing full lists of credibly accused priests, nor providing information about the church officials who covered-up their crimes. The only way to ensure that the bishops here in Texas are truly sincere about rebuilding their sacred trust is to allow for independent, properly trained experts in law enforcement to review all the files, including the “secret files” which we learned exist from the Pennsylvania grand jury report last year. We call upon prosecuting attorneys and the Texas attorney general to launch an independent investigation into clergy sex abuse crimes and cover-ups.

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Another Priest Removed from the Diocese of Oakland for Abuse Complaints

ST. LOUIS (MO)
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests

January 31, 2019

A priest within the Diocese of Oakland has been placed on leave following allegations of sexual abuse of a minor.

We are grateful that the Diocese of Oakland has taken steps to protect children and prevent future cases of abuse by removing Fr. Alex Castillo. However, simply removing allegedly abusive priests from ministry is not enough. We believe that Bishop Michael Barber should also inform the public and parishioners about when his office first received the allegations and what their immediate response was. Only by sharing this information can Catholic officials live up to their 2002 promise to be “open and transparent” in their handling of sexual abuse allegations.

On the point of transparency, we cannot help but notice that the Diocese of Oakland was slated to release a list of “credibly” accused priests last October, yet this release was suddenly delayed. In light of this newest case, we call on Bishop Barber to release this list immediately.

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DA urges victims of sexual abuse by priests to come forward, regardless of when it happened

BATON ROUGE (LA)
WAFB TV

February 1, 2019

By Carmen Farrish

Victims of abuse at the hands of clergy often struggle with reporting what happened to them.

“This is a real personal, difficult decision people will have to make and we respect that, but we need much more information than what we have right now,” said East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore. Even after coming forward, victims often have to face tough questions so prosecutors like Moore will know what, if any, legal options they have to press charges.

“We would have to know what act is alleged to have been performed. Is it a touch, penetration… what is it? When did it occur? We would have to compare that with what the law was at the time for those particular acts,” the DA said.

Moore would only be able to prosecute those cases that happened in East Baton Rouge Parish; cases in other parishes would fall to the DAs in those jurisdictions.

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry has been urged to open a statewide investigation into clergy abuse, and to make it easier for victims to report abuse.

One group that’s calling for that is the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). Victims can call SNAP at 1-877-SNAP-HEALS.

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What it means to be a laicized priest in the Catholic Church

EL PASO (TX)
El Paso Times

January 31, 2019

Zulekha Pitts

Catholic leaders in Texas on Thursday released the largest list of Catholic clergy accused of sexually abusing children since a Pennsylvania report in August 2018. According to the Texas list of 286 priests accused of abuse, only a fraction have been stripped of their clergy status, or laicized.

Laicize defined
To laicize a priest means to dismiss him from his clerical state and reduce him to the lay state, or secularize him, according to Webster’s New World College Dictionary. Catholic.com states that “laicization renders a cleric for ecclesiastical purposes the equivalent of a layman.”

The clerical state if a priest is a juridical status. A priest can lose his clerical state by requesting its removal or by having it taken away. Defrocking and unfrocking also are terms referring to the laicization of a priest.

When a priest is laicized
When a priest is laicized, it doesn’t mean that he is no longer a priest. It means that he is banned from exercising the rights fitting to the clerical state, according to an article on The Catholic World Report website. These privileges include celebrating Mass, listening to confessions and offering the sacraments.

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By the numbers: Where the 31 accused Dallas diocese priests were assigned

DALLAS (TX)
WFAA-TV (Channel 8)

January 31, 2019

By Charlotte Huffman

The 31 priests named by the Dallas Diocese as having been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse had a total of 180 different assignments throughout their careers.

Here’s a breakdown of the list by the numbers:

Which priests have worked in the most number of places?

• Jose Saldana – 16 assignments

• Patrick Lynch – 13 assignments

• Henry McGill – 13 assignments

• Michael Barone – 11 assignments

• Richard Johnson – 10 assignments

• Robert Crisp – 10 assignments

• Michael Flanagan – 10 assignments

Which churches had the highest number of credibly accused priests working there at one time or another?

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A Dallas diocese priest accused of abuse was celebrating Mass and hearing confessions in Duncanville last fall

DALLAS (TX)
WFAA TV

January 31, 2019

By Jason Trahan, Matt Howerton

One of the most recently accused priests on the Dallas diocese list was celebrating Mass and hearing confessions at a Duncanville Catholic church just weeks before he was removed over abuse allegations.

Father Alejandro “Alex” Buitrago is listed as retired in 2017 and was “removed” from his job as a priest in 2018, according to the Dallas diocese list released Thursday. There was no exact date of that removal on the list, but a diocese official said he was removed just last month, in December.

WFAA found several online church bulletins – one from June, two from July, and two from September – noting that Fr. Buitrago is a “guest priest” celebrating Mass, sometimes in Spanish, at the Holy Spirit Catholic Church in Duncanville.

And according to these bulletins, Buitrago was hearing confessions in October and as late as Nov. 17.

The Duncanville church does not appear on Buitrago’s “assignment history” released Thursday by the diocese. When asked why, the diocese said it doesn’t keep track of “guest” appearances by priests, specifically retired ones. Those assignments, they said, are usually scheduled by the local parish priest who may need to fill a spot for Mass or confessions quickly.

Dallas Diocese Bishop Edward Burns told reporters today during a news conference that he would not address questions about specific priests.

Buitrago was ordained in 1967 and served in several parishes before he retired in 2017 and was removed “with faculties suspended” in 2018.

Buitrago told WFAA by phone late Thursday that the “allegations are not true.”

He also said that “there’s no proof.”

Before ending the conversation, Buitrago said he was looking to hire an attorney.

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Lawmakers want to give AG power to investigate accused priests

AUSTIN (TX)
KXAN TV

January 31, 2019

By Phil Prazan

Thursday, Catholic churches across Texas released names of clergy credibly accused of child sex abuse. State law constrains the Texas Attorney General from launching an investigation, as Pennsylvania’s attorney general did.

Several state lawmakers now want to give the Texas Attorney General the power to investigate those crimes without being called upon by a district attorney.

“If our state’s head law enforcement officer does not have the authority to investigate these crimes, I would support legislation that gives the Texas Attorney General the authority that he or she needs to protect Texas children and shine light on institutional cover-ups of such heinous, illegal activity,” said Rep. Eddie Rodriguez, D-Austin.
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“Of course the state should investigate any crimes committed against children or anyone else, for that matter,” said Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, “Priests and other religious leaders are not exempt from the law and no institution should get away with hiding criminal activities.”

“I haven’t spoken with the AG’s office about this particularly reviling aspect of sexual assault,” said Rep. Donna Howard, D-Austin, “But I would be open to exploring the issue of concurrent jurisdiction if it was determined that this was the best path forward to bringing justice to these victims.”

KXAN reached out to the three most influential people in state government – Governor Greg Abbott, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick, and Speaker of the House Dennis Bonnen – and has not yet heard back.

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Baton Rouge bishop includes more details on alleged sex abusers than New Orleans, Houma dioceses did

NEW ORLEANS (LA)
The Advocate

January 31, 2019

By Ramon Antonio Vargas

It was the third clergy sex-abuse list to be released by a Catholic bishop in Louisiana. And it was by far the most transparent.

In a notable departure from his counterparts in New Orleans and Houma, Baton Rouge Bishop Michael Duca on Thursday made public — in most cases — the number of victims that each clergy member is alleged to have molested and where the abuse occurred.

The list released by New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond on Nov. 2 did not provide that level of detail. Neither did the list put out by Houma-Thibodaux Bishop Shelton Fabre on Jan. 14.

When asked why that information was not included in Aymond’s list, spokeswoman Sarah McDonald defended the completeness of his disclosure, which included names, birth dates, dates of ordination, estimated times of abuse, years when the allegations were first received, years when clergy members were removed from ministry, and pastoral assignments.

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Dallas Catholic Diocese releases list of 31 clergy members

DALLAS (TX)
Dallas Morning News

February 1, 2019

By David Tarrant

The Dallas Catholic Diocese on Thursday joined Catholic leaders across Texas in releasing the names of nearly 300 clergy members who have been “credibly accused” of sexual abuse of children over the last seven decades.

The Dallas diocese said its list of 31 — which was met with skepticism from victims’ advocates — includes those accused of sexual abuse of a minor since 1950 and does not constitute a determination of guilt. Seventeen of the people on the list are dead. Five had been convicted in court. Four of the living had already been “laicized,” or removed from the clergy.

During an afternoon news conference at the diocese headquarters, Dallas Bishop Edward J. Burns said Thursday was “a difficult day for the church in the state of Texas and for the Diocese of Dallas.”

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