Chairman of the National Review Board Says Bishops Who Ignored Abuse Should Face “Real Consequences”

For immediate release, November 13 2018

On the second day of this month’s meeting of US catholic bishops, the Chairman of the National Review Board said that Catholic bishops who ignored sexual abuse committed by clergy should face “real consequences.” We could not agree more with his assessment and would argue that any bishop who has covered-up or ignored sex crimes should resign.

As Chairman Francesco Cesareo argued, there is a clear need for bishops to do more to hold accountable their brethren who ignored, concealed, or otherwise covered-up sexual abuse and argued that the USCCB could bar “guilty bishops from USCCB membership or attending national meetings.”According to a recent report from the Boston Globe and Philadelphia Inquirer, nearly one-third of active bishops have been accused of failing to properly address claims of sexual misconduct in their dioceses. If the bishops listen to Mr. Cesareo, one of those bishops who could be barred would be the head of the USCCB itself, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo.

Despite being a vocal critic of the way that Church officials have handled sexual abuse in the past, the Cardinal played a role in the cover-up of sex crimes committed by Fr. Jerome Coyle, a serial abuser in the Diocese of Sioux City, where he was bishop before going to Galveston-Houston. Similarly, Cardinal DiNardo hid allegations against Fr. Manuel LaRosa-Lopez, a priest who was left in ministry despite multiple allegations of abuse.

Given that the head of the USCCB himself is one of those bishops that Mr. Cesareo is suggesting face “real consequences,” we do not expect to see immediate action. Still, we are grateful to Mr. Cesareo for his powerful condemnation and are hopeful that such a statement coming from the very board that the USCCB empaneled to determine how best to deal with the clergy abuse crisis will have a lasting impact.

We believe that the consequences complicit bishops should face are clear – anyone who was involved in concealing sex crimes against children or vulnerable adults should not only step down but also turn themselves over to law enforcement. Anything less is a farce.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Richard Kensinger, MSW
    commented 2018-11-13 16:10:39 -0600
    The most important consequence for guilty bishops and anyone else in the Church who cover-up these multiple crimes, is to face prosecution and incarceration, just like in played out in the Jerry Sandusky case!
    Rich, MSW

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