January 22, 2020
Another priest has been added to the Oklahoma City Archdiocese’s list of abusers. We call on Catholic officials to do outreach in every community where this priest worked to encourage other possible victims to come forward and make a report.
The case of Fr. Martin Leven is another example of the Church’s playbook to avoid scandal and minimize abuse allegations. Fr. Leven was first accused of abuse in 1993 and was sent to a church-run treatment facility in 1995. However, since the archdiocesan list does not include assignment dates or additional information on the allegation, we are unclear as to when the abuse was alleged to have occurred, only where.
The treatment facility found the allegation “possible.” Their recommendation was that the priest have no unsupervised contact with minors and seek intensive outpatient psychotherapy. Fr. Leven was then returned to parish ministry with the instruction that he “not be permitted to have ministerial contact with minors unless other adults are present.”
We do not know whether that instruction was actually enforced, or who was in charge of supervising its implementation. We do know that a recommendation is not enough to protect children from abuse, and that a second allegation of abuse by the priest, apparently from the same time period as the first, has also been “substantiated.” We are not told when the archdiocese received the second allegation, but Fr. Leven remained in parish ministry until 1999, in hospital ministry until 2013, and only had his faculties removed this year.
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