Oct. 28, 2019
By Rick Carroll
Of the 43 priests identified in a report last week by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for sexually abusing minors, one of them assigned to St. Mary Catholic Church in Aspen over 40 years ago once asked not to be transferred when allegations against him surfaced.
Father Robert Harold White “was the most prolific known clergy child sex abuser in Colorado history” and his career is “a microcosm of virtually all the failures we found elsewhere in our review of the Colorado Dioceses’ child sex abuse history,” the report said.
The report was written by former Colorado U.S. Attorney Bob Troyer and covers sexual abuse by Catholic priests from 1950 to 2019 in the state. While at least 166 children were abused by priests during that time frame, the state’s three dioceses, who were aware of the abuse, did little to address the allegations they instead suppressed.
Though the 263-page report noted that following 1998 no allegations or abuse by priests in Colorado were alleged, there is no way to tell if that is actually the case. The case with White was emblematic of the church’s failure to address rampant priest abuse, the report said.
“The Denver Archdiocese was frequently dishonest with White’s victims, their parishioners, and the public about his child sex abuse and the Denver Archdiocese’s knowledge of it,” the report said. “White’s file reveals the Denver Archdiocese did all this for decades, deploying euphemism and secrecy to protect itself. His file also reveals that broad, deep and permanent harm to children was the consequence.”
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