ND--Credibly accused predator priest from Bismarck is “outed”
For immediate release: Thursday, Oct. 23
Statement by Barbara Dorris of SNAP (314 503 0003)
A Catholic priest from Bismarck has been “outed” today for the first time as a credibly accused child molester. We call on North Dakota Catholic officials to warn parents, parishioners and the public about him and to beg anyone with information or suspicions about him to call law enforcement immediately.
In a joint announcement by a law firm and the St. Paul archdiocese, Fr. John Owen is one of three priests whose names are being disclosed today for the first time as having “substantiated claims against (him) of sexually abusing a minor.” The revelations come as part of a settlement of a clergy sex abuse and cover up lawsuit announced last week (John Doe 1 vs. Fr. Thomas Adamson and the St. Paul archdiocese).
More about Fr. Owen is here:
We applaud Doe for insisting that more names of predator priests are disclosed as a result of his courageous litigation. And we denounce Bismarck Catholic officials who apparently have kept silent about the accusations against Fr. Owens for almost a decade. (Twin Cities church officials say they "removed his faculties" in 2005. We strongly suspect that even before then they alerted their North Dakota colleagues about these allegations against Fr. Owens.)
We urge Bismarck's bishop to "come clean," explain why he and his colleagues have hidden these allegations, and to fire or at least demote every single Catholic employee who endangered kids by keeping quiet about them.
Let there be no mistake about this new information: it’s being released because victims have filed lawsuits and insist on real safety measures, not just pay offs. It’s not a sign of reform by Catholic officials. It’s a sign that when victims are brave enough to step forward and smart enough to file lawsuits, more truth can be exposed and more kids can be protected.
We hope that anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered crimes by Fr. Owen – or any cleric – will find the courage to speak up, get help, expose wrongdoers, protect others and start healing.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 20,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Statement Regarding Disclosure of Additional Names
Date: Thursday, October 23, 2014
Source: Rita Beatty, Communications Manager
From Archbishop John Nienstedt, Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis
Today, we join law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates in jointly disclosing the names and assignment histories of 17 men who have substantiated claims against them of sexually abusing a minor while they were assigned as priests. As part of a legal settlement with Jeff Anderson and Associates announced last week, a process was established for the disclosure of additional names of priests who are the subject of substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor.
Of these 17 men whose names are disclosed today, nine are the subjects of substantiated claims of abuse of a minor within this archdiocese.
The remaining eight individuals are or were priests of other dioceses or religious orders who have substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor outside of this archdiocese. The archdiocese is not aware of any substantiated claim of sexual abuse of a minor asserted against these individuals relating to any conduct that occurred in this archdiocese. Some of these eight individuals held temporary assignments in this archdiocese. In other cases, they may have traveled to the archdiocese, or resided here without ministry faculties or lived here as a lay person.
Most of the reported incidents of abuse related to these 17 men occurred between the mid-1950s and the mid-1980s. All of these men have been permanently removed from ministry in this archdiocese; most of them have been out of ministry here for a decade or more. Ten of these 17 men are deceased, but the pain they caused is very much alive. I am profoundly saddened and sorry for the harm clergy sexual abuse has caused victims and survivors, their families and the community.
In addition, the status has changed for three men whose names were previously disclosed. Both Eugene Corica and Robert Loftus are now moved to the list of men who are subjects of substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor within this archdiocese, bringing the total number of names on that list to 55. Roger Vaughn is added to the new list of men who are the subjects of substantiated claims of sexual abuse of a minor outside of this archdiocese. There are a total of nine names on that list.
You may find clergy disclosure information linked on the archdiocesan website archspm.org and at SafeCatholicSPM.org. We have also published this disclosure information in the archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Spirit. In addition, we alerted pastors at parishes where these men were previously assigned, so that pastors can communicate directly with their parishioners regarding the disclosures.
Robert P. Clark