Archdiocese Clears Priests in Sex Abuse
Indianapolis Review Board Finds No Credibility in Allegations Outlined in Civil Lawsuit

South Bend Tribune
March 8, 2006

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- An archdiocesan review board cleared a priest and a former priest of sexual molestation claims made by a former altar boy.

The Rev. Carlton J. Beever, 57, was reinstated at his Indianapolis parish after 18 months on unpaid leave. He presided over Masses on Sunday at St. Philip Neri church. A Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis official told his congregation that Beever was innocent of allegations the review board did not find credible.

Beever and Thomas J. Amsden, 64, a former priest who resigned from the ministry in 1995, have maintained their innocence since a man sued them in July 2004, claiming both had abused him while he was an altar boy at a Greensburg parish in the 1970s. No criminal charges were filed.

"I've known from the beginning of our innocence," said Amsden, who resigned as pastor of St. Mary to get married and start a family. "I've known that, and I've lived with it for three years. It has been extremely heartbreaking. It has been the absolutely worst thing that I have ever gone through."

Beever's lawyer, John Schiff, said both men have asked their accuser for an apology. He said depositions from the accuser and his former wife led the review board -- which included former law enforcement officers and a former prosecutor -- to believe the claims were not credible.

"We're hopeful the plaintiff will concede there is no truth to his allegations and that he will issue an appropriate retraction, that he will agree to dismiss his litigation and that he will issue an apology," Schiff said.

Pat Noaker, a Minnesota lawyer who represents the former altar boy, said his client's complaints are valid and has no plans to retract his claims or apologize.

"Our position at this point is that litigation is a very difficult process for anyone, let alone somebody who has been injured this severely," he said.

Beever is the first Indianapolis priest restored to ministry after sex abuse allegations since the archdiocese rewrote its policies in 2004. The revisions were intended to match guidelines set down by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops after a national priest sex abuse scandal. A lawsuit against the archdiocese for the alleged abuse continues.

"It is regrettable that Father Beever and Tom Amsden have had to live through such a painful experience," Archbishop Daniel M. Buechlein said in a statement. "They will need our prayers and support."

Both priests were associate pastors at the St. Mary parish, Amsden from 1973 to 1977 and Beever from 1977 to 1981.


Any original material on these pages is copyright © 2004. Reproduce freely with attribution.