Detroit Archdiocese Says It Could Have Done More to Address Sexual Allegations
December 20, 2013
The sex scandals in the Catholic church are not over.
Patricia Montemurri of the Detroit Free Press reports that the Detroit Arcdiocese conceded on Thursday it could have done more to track former priest Harry Walsh after a woman repeatedly complained to them in 1993, 2002 and 2011 about being molested at age 15 by the priest while he was at the Holy Redeemer parish in southwest Detroit Detroit in 1965-67.
“We could have done better to follow up if anything was done” by St. Paul-Minneapolis Catholic officials to address the accusations against Walsh, Detroit Archdiocese spokesman Ned McGrath told the Freep. He said Detroit Catholic officials are reviewing their procedures .
Minnesota Public Radio first reported on this matter this week after obtaining church documents.
Walsh has worked mostly at Minnesota parishes since 1969. He is no longer a priest, and was dismissed from the priesthood by the Vatican in 2012. He works as a sex education counselor for young people in the Minneapolis area. He denied he abused the Detroit woman, according to the radio report.
MPR radio reported that in Minnesota archbishops Harry Flynn and John Nienstedt allowed Walsh to continue working in parishes until the fall of 2011. It noted that neither bishop called police or warned the public.
MPR writes on its website:
Nienstedt's failure to disclose Walsh's past is evidence that the clergy abuse scandal is not over. It also belies Nienstedt's promise of transparency and raises the question of whether more accused priests are living and working among trusting neighbors and employers.
To top that off, now Nienstedt is being accused of wrongdoing.
MPR reported that on Tuesday, Nienstedt announced he was stepping down from all public ministry as head of the Catholic Church in the Twin Cities while police investigate an allegation that he touched a boy on the buttocks in 2009. The archbishop called the claim "absolutely and entirely false." -- A.L.