DIOCESE OF LANSING MI
The sexual abuse scandal of the last two years has been painful and disheartening for you, me, and our clergy. Victims of sexual abuse carry a heavy cross of betrayal and suffering. Some clergy, betraying their position of trust, have sexually abused minors. Some bishops, betraying their position of trust, failed to remove them.
On Feb. 27, 2004, a report on the full extent of sexual abuse of minors by clergy in every diocese in the United States will be made public. We cooperated with the independent experts who compiled this report. It is of utmost importance that you understand this report.
In fulfillment of their commitment to full disclosure, the U.S. bishops commissioned the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, an independent institution, to conduct this study. The number of allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy in the United States since 1950 will be disturbing. Understanding the tragedy of sexual abuse will help protect children in the future.
The report about the Diocese of Lansing encompasses 52 years, from 1950 until 2002. During that time, more than 780 priests and 107 deacons ministered in our diocese, not including religious order priests. There were 21 allegations of sexual abuse of minors by clergy. These 21 allegations were made against 19 priests and deacons. The allegations against 13 of these clerics were found credible and substantiated. The allegations against four (4) clerics were found false or not credible. Allegations against two (2) clerics were withdrawn. That amounts to 1.46% of the priests and deacons who ministered in our diocese during those 52 years.
Of the 19 accused priests and deacons, two (2) were found innocent and are in active ministry. The rest are no longer in active ministry: five (5) are deceased, six (6) are retired, three (3) are on administrative leave and three (3) are laicized.
In these 52 years covered by the report, the Diocese of Lansing has paid $473,533 in compensation and therapeutic care to victims and their families. Of this total $459,360 has been reimbursed by insurance. The remaining cost was paid for by interest generated from the diocese’s investment fund for unexpected eventualities.
The financial costs related to sexual abuse of minors included in the John Jay Study and the amounts reported in the March 2003 issue of FAITH Magazine differ for two reasons. First, subsequent to the publication of the FAITH article, additional records that identified costs and insurance reimbursements were discovered and entered in the calculations. The second reason is that the John Jay Study limited the report of costs to those associated with the care of victims and their families only. This is an amount less than the total cost of the abuse cases which the diocese had previously reported.
I regret that any child or young person was abused by anyone working for the Church, especially our clergy. Our diocese remains committed to healing victims and protecting children and young people.
What is apparent and unstated is that more than 98% of our priests and deacons, during those 52 years, have been and continue to be good and trustworthy shepherds and faithful servants of Our Lord and you, His people.
In our Good Shepherd,
+ Most Rev. Carl F. Mengeling
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