Columbus Diocese hires counselor to speak with victims, priest reassigned

Columbus Dispatch

July 2, 2020

By Danae King

The Columbus Diocese was one of three in the country that had a priest working with survivors of clergy sexual abuse to take their reports. On July 2, 2020, the diocese announced it had hired a counselor to take the reports.

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus has hired a licensed clinical counselor to work with victims of sexual abuse by priests, replacing the priest who has been in the position since 1997.

Laura Lewis, a local counselor, will begin work as the interim Victims’ Assistance Coordinator on July 15, replacing Monsignor Stephan Moloney, the diocese announced Thursday.

The change comes after The Dispatch reported in March 2019 that Moloney was one of three diocesan victims’ assistance coordinators in the country who were also priests. Victim advocates and survivors have said such an arrangement makes it harder for victims to come forward to report abuse, and can even retraumatize them.

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