LR Diocese Faces Scrutiny over Priest

By Jay Jackson
Today's THV
April 14, 2011

[with video]

The LR Catholic Diocese is being brought to court behind claims that an Arkansas priest "sexually exploited" parishioners.

It's a fight being fought around the country - protecting children from priests who allegedly prey on the young.

Now the fight has landed on the front porch of the Diocese of Little Rock.

"Joseph Ross is a dangerous, serial, convicted child predator," says Barbara Dorris of The Survivor's Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP).

Dorris says the diocese has an obligation to inform the public that a defrocked priest could still reside in Little Rock, after moving here more than 10 years ago.

"Bishop [Anthony] Taylor could use his vast resources, his newspaper, his website, his parish bulletin to warn people," says Dorris.

In 1998, Joseph Ross confessed to sexually molesting an 11-year-old boy during confession in a St. Louis church, but remained in the church for more than a decade until being defrocked in 2002, at which time he moved to Little Rock.

"We're begging Bishop Taylor to please take action," says Dorris.

The diocese says Ross never served as a priest in Little Rock and adds they do everything to protect the safety of children, but the issue would be best addressed by somebody else.

"We really don't know anything about his whereabouts and we think you would need to speak to the Archdiocese of St. Louis about that," says Dennis Lee of the Diocese of Little Rock.

The Archdiocese of St. Louis released a statement saying: "Ross has been removed from the ministry. We apologize to all those who have been abused by clergy. Anyone who has been abused is encouraged to come forward."


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