Fort Worth Bishop Apologizes for Abuse in Church

CBS 11 News
November 26, 2006

The bishop of The Catholic Diocese of Fort Worth is asking for God's forgiveness. Sunday, Bishop Kevin Vann publicly acknowledged sexual misconduct by some clergy members.

The bishop addressed victims of Monsignor James Reilly in a mass of reparation.

It was standing room only at Saint Maria Goretti Catholic Church in Arlington as Bishop Vann publicly acknowledged the sexual abuse of minors at the hands of Monsignor Reilly.

"In the name of the church, I offer an apology to those abused and their families for this and at the same time, petition the Lord for forgiveness. I also beg the forgiveness of those involved," Bishop Vann said.

But forgiveness was not granted by all of the victims. One of the 11 people who agreed to a settlement with the diocese spoke to CBS 11 News. The man, who did not want to be identified, says a public apology was part of the deal.

"He didn't apologize for the inactions on anyone's part to stop this year's ago. He apologized for any grief this might have caused. That to me is not a sincere apology," he said.

CBS 11 News asked Bishop Vann if a publicly apology, on behalf of the church, was part of the settlement. He responded, "This should be done at any rate because of the egregious nature of what was done to the victims and a public statement needed to be made and so I did that."

The victim and former alter boy, who spoke with CBS 11 News was just 10-years-old when he says he was abused by his spiritual leader. He says no words; no amount of money; can make that right. "Everybody put him up on a pedestal. We did, my family did, (and) I did. We all thought he was the man of Godů the be all, end all, so anything he says or does has to be right."

Monsignor James Reilly died in 1999. The personnel files of seven more priests accused of sexual abuse are set to be released Monday.


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