Groups: Ri Diocese Should Name Accused Priests

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March 28, 2011

The state's Roman Catholic leader should release the names of all priests who have worked in Rhode Island and have been accused of sex abuse, two groups that advocate for victims of clergy sex abuse said Monday.

"It's a moral and civic duty of the Providence bishop to disclose those names, their whereabouts and the accusations against them," said David Clohessy, national director of The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests.

His group and also urged Bishop Thomas Tobin to seek out victims of John Dority, a priest convicted of child molestation in Rhode Island in 2005. Dority was released from prison in 2007 and now lives in Coventry, Conn., according to the Connecticut state police's sex offender registry.

The groups say they recently learned Dority, 69, was a Franciscan priest in other states, and they want Tobin to say whether he ever worked as a priest in Rhode Island.

The Providence Diocese says it has no record of Dority working as a priest in Rhode Island. He left the Franciscans in 1976 and was formally defrocked in 1980, according to Jocelyn Thomas, a spokesman for the order, officially called the Order of Friars Minor.

Dority is the subject of a lawsuit brought in Massachusetts by two unnamed plaintiffs who claim they were sexually assaulted by the former priest for several years in the 1960s and 1970s, starting when they were 10 and 13.

He has not answered the lawsuit because he cannot afford an attorney and because he admits to its allegations, he told The Associated Press.

"What I did was completely wrong. I admit that. I'm very sorry for the trouble I caused, the harm I caused," Dority said in a phone interview. He said he voluntarily underwent 1 1/2 years of therapy for sex offenders while in prison in Rhode Island and has not committed any abuse since his release.

Catholic officials in Rhode Island have said the diocese is aggressive in its efforts to find victims of clergy abuse.

Anne Barrett Doyle, of, says the diocese has admitted that it knows of 125 priests facing accusations of child abuse since 1971, but has only made some of those priests' names public.

"That makes this diocese one of the most dangerous dioceses in the nation for children," Doyle said. She said there have been about 1,200 active priests in the diocese since 1950, meaning that over 10 percent of them have been accused of child abuse.

Clohessy also called on Rhode Island Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin to launch a grand jury investigation into accusations of sex crimes committed by Catholic clergymen in the state. The group is planning to send a letter to Kilmartin.

Amy Kempe, a spokesman for the attorney general's office, declined to comment because the office has not received a request from the groups yet.

In Philadelphia, a recent two-year grand jury investigation resulted in charges against two priests, a former priest and a Catholic school teacher who are accused of raping boys. It also led to child endangerment charges against a former high-ranking Philadelphia Archdiocese official who was accused of transferring problem priests to new parishes without warning anyone of prior sex abuse complaints.


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