The Hidden Abuse

Catholic Church Faces Hurt with Hope

The [Wilmington DE] News Leader
November 20-23, 2005

This series is remarkable for several reasons. It is informed by a sympathy for the survivors and their families and loved ones, whose experience is presented in extensive quotations and streaming video of three interviews. The series also includes diocesan and legal documents that offer insight into the management of the Wilmington diocese. The series profiles survivors, accused priests, seminarians, church-going Catholics, clergy, and bishops, to create an unusually complete picture of the crisis in a single diocese. The series pointedly contrasts the Philadelphia archdiocese, where a grand jury's report revealed the extent of abuse, with the more "hidden" nature of abuse in Wilmington.


  • Tormented by broken trust [intro and brief profile of Rev. Dudzinski]
  • Diocese kept abuse cases secret [includes assignment records and links to documents]
  • Secret list was compiled, then later destroyed
  • Parents see value in altar serving
  • Naive adoration; a lifetime of pain [about Rev. Carley; includes links to interviews]
  • Impact extends beyond sex abuse victims
  • Betrayal by trusted figures leaves scars
  • Parishioners, priests endure shadow of accusation


  • This letter from the Bishop of Worcester asks the Bishop of Wilmington to allow a priest [Rev. Holley] who has been accused of sexual abuse to work in the Diocese of Wilmington. [See the article discussing this letter. The document is dated 1971.]
  • This letter from the Bishop of Wilmington tells the Bishop of Worcester that a priest [Rev. Holley] who had been accused of sexual abuse could not come to work in Delaware because the priest "presented a greater problem than we could handle...." [See the article discussing this letter. The document is dated 1971.]
  • This memorandum to Diocese of Wilmington officials describes concerns about Edward Dudzinski taking middle-school boys on vacation with him. [See the article on this memo. The document is dated 1977.]
  • This court document shows one of the church's legal tactics when defending priests who have been sued. [See the article on this point. The document is dated 1989 and concerns Rev. Dudzinski.]
  • These seven documents are typical of the kind of public statements that church officials have made about priests working in Delaware who have been accused of molestation. [See the article on these documents. The statements are dated 2002-2003 and concern Revs. Wiggins, Rogers, Smith, Irwin, O'Neill.]
  • Read the lawsuit: Kenneth Whitwell vs. Archmere, Catholic diocese and Rev. Edward Smith. [See the article on this suit. The document is dated 2005.]


  • James Curry talks about the [e]ffect of priest abuse on his son. [about Rev. Carley]
  • John Dougherty recalls his abuse at the hands of a Catholic priest [Rev. Carley].
  • Michael Schulte talks about being raped by a[n unnamed] Catholic priest.


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