Aquila: Report on Colorado sexual abuse calls Church to vigilance and holiness

Catholic News Agency

Oct. 24, 2019

After the release of a report on sexual abuse in Colorado’s Catholic dioceses, the Archbishop of Denver said that the Church should learn from its past, and that spiritual renewal is an essential part of ensuring a safe environment in the Church.

Issued Oct. 23, the report examined the archives and personnel files of Colorado’s dioceses dating back 70 years. It found that 43 diocesan priests since 1950 have been credibly accused of sexually abusing at least 166 children in the state.

The report was issued after a seven-month investigation conducted by a former U.S. Attorney, Bob Troyer. Colorado’s bishops and the state’s attorney general decided mutually to support the investigation, which was funded by an anonymous donor.

While nearly 70% of victims were abused in the 1960s and 1970s, the most recent acts of clerical sexual abuse documented in the report took place in 1998, when a now incarcerated and laicized Denver priest sexually abused a teenage boy.

Denver Archbishop Samuel Aquila told CNA Oct. 23 that after the scandal of former cardinal Theodore McCarrick emerged in June 2018, Colorado’s bishops wanted an independent investigation of their own files. The archbishop said they reached an agreement with the attorney general’s office on the investigation because they wanted to understand the “historic nature of sexual abuse within the state of Colorado among diocesan priests.”

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