Catholics deserve transparency on diocesan settlements regarding abusive priests

The Plain Dealer - [Cleveland OH]

November 7, 2023

In March 2022, various news outlets reported that one of the victims of the late Cleveland priest Robert McWilliams, who died in prison the month before, had filed a lawsuit against the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. Curious about the status of the case, I recently checked the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas docket and found that the case was dismissed with prejudice in November 2022. Is it a coincidence that the website of the plaintiff’s law firm shows an $800,000 settlement, “Against Catholic Diocese for sexual abuse of minor perpetuated by priest”?

Given the extensive reporting on the case going back to late 2019, I believe that people deserve to know the outcome, though I believe the victim’s identity should be protected at all costs. Other victims might derive benefit by being informed of the settlement. Also, I feel that we faithfully contributing Catholics deserve transparency. Our Church, which sometimes publicly scrutinizes the sins of others, should own up to its own and not shroud itself in secrecy.

Name withheld by request,

Olmsted Falls

The writer is a lifelong Catholic,