By Cardinal Edward Egan
March 19, 2002

[See also Egan Protected Abusive Priests for links to related articles.]

Sexual abuse of children is an abomination. It leaves scars on its victims that long endure. My heart goes out to any and all victims and their families.

A letter is being prepared for the faithful of the Archdiocese of New York on the tragedy and immorality of sexual abuse. There will be in this letter a detailed outline of how the Archdiocese of New York responds to accusations of sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse of children is not only immoral it is also illegal. Along with the District Attorneys, I believe that allegations of abuse should be reported to the proper civil authorities, and I urge anyone who has an allegation to bring it immediately and directly to the civil authorities. If such allegations are made first to the Archdiocese, we will encourage the person making the allegation to report that allegation to the proper civil authorities.

In the Archdiocese of New York, we will continue to enforce the policy of the Archdiocese to thoroughly investigate all allegations and respond appropriately and pastorally to the person bringing the allegation and to the clergyman. In any such investigation, of course, we have to respect the rights of all persons involved, the rights of the accuser as well as the rights of the accused. As has been made clear, when there is reasonable cause to suspect that abuse has occurred and if the victims do not oppose the reporting, the Archdiocese will make the appropriate reports to civil authorities.

Recently, an area newspaper published a story concerning how three sexual abuse cases were handled in the Diocese of Bridgeport. There was immediate request for a reaction from me as the former Bishop of Bridgeport. Since that story omitted certain key facts and contained inaccuracies, it was necessary to review the cases in detail before responding. Having completed the review, I am confident that these cases were handled appropriately. The salient and essential facts of this matter will be touched upon in my upcoming letter.

Our children are to be protected always, and in this the Archdiocese will be ever vigilant.


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