Bishop Accountability

Accused Priests: 6
Total Priests: NA
Alleged Victims: 9 (from AP table)
Cost: $516,831

See Cathy Lynn Grossman, Survey: More Clergy Abuse Cases Than Previously Thought (2/10/04) with AP table of data for 74 dioceses.

See the Dallas Morning News database entry on Bishop Plácido Rodríguez. The June 2002 database examined the records of bishops and identified those who had allowed accused priests to continue working or had otherwise protected priests accused of sexual abuse. The database is relevant to the bishops' "Nature and Scope" study because the bishops who prepared the surveys for the study are in many cases responsible for the "scope" of the problem.

Report: Six priest abuse allegations had 'reasonable cause'

By Betsy Blaney
Associated Press
January 12, 2004

Lubbock, Texas - A newly released report from the Catholic Diocese of Lubbock showed sexual abuse allegations against six clergy - five priests and a deacon - were found to have "reasonable cause," according to a letter read to parishioners in 25 West Texas counties.

Two of the accused priests have died and the three others were removed from active ministry, Bishop Placido Rodriguez said in a letter read during Mass at 62 churches Sunday. A deacon accused of sexual abuse of a minor also was removed. Clergy removed from active ministry remain priests.

None of the accusations led to criminal charges, Lubbock diocese spokesman Leroy Behnke said Monday. Eight of the nine victims who alleged abuse claim it happened more than 20 years ago, before the diocese was formed.

The removal of the priests came after the diocese was formed in 1983. Prior to being formed, churches now in the Lubbock diocese were in the San Angelo and Amarillo dioceses.

The diocese released the report, published in the Jan. 11 issue of South Plains Catholic, after turning the information over to John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, commissioned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to do a nationwide study and analysis, Behnke said. That report was expected to be released in late February.

With one exception, the names of victims or the accused are not included in the report.

Asked why the information was not released when the nation's church abuse scandal began in January 2002, Behnke said, "We weren't prepared; we didn't have the information nor could we get prepared because we were so busy trying to answer questions" from reporters.

Insurance paid $363,692 in settlements for the allegations and the diocese has paid $153,139 to counsel victims, provide professional services and living expenses for priests, pay legal fees and medical assistance for victims, priests and deacon, according to the report.

News of one allegation surfaced in 1992. Then-Bishop Michael J. Sheehan, now archbishop of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe in New Mexico, sent the Rev. Rodney Howell - the only clergyman identified in the report - into an alcoholism treatment program in 1986 after a family in Anton told the bishop the priest had sexually abused two of their children.

The incident became public after a television news report in New Orleans, Howell's hometown, accused him of pedophilia. The investigative news team questioned law enforcement in Lynn County, where Howell was pastor at St. Pius X Catholic Church in O'Donnell.

Howell was terminally ill when the story broke. He died of cancer about a month later on Jan. 10, 1993.


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