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Covington, Kentucky Diocese Says 30 Priests Abusive

Associated Press - August 30, 2003

COVINGTON, Ky. - The Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington said it has "reasonable cause to believe" 8 percent of its priests sexually abused one or more minors in the past half-century.

The figure represents 30 out of 372 diocesan priests in those 50 years. The diocese Friday disclosed the numbers in a 16-page report mailed to the 89,000 Catholics in the 14-county diocese.

The diocese said it has received 158 allegations against those priests, including 67 against one priest. Nine of the 30 priests have died and four have been expelled from the priesthood. The other 17 have been removed from active ministry.

The report includes an apology from Bishop Roger Foys, who took over the diocese in July 2002.

"Too often, the response of the Diocese to victims of child sexual abuse was inadequate," Foys wrote. "In the name of the Diocese of Covington, I apologize to you, ask your forgiveness and pray for reconciliation and healing."

Foys wrote that he has met one-on-one with sexual-abuse victims to apologize and will continue to do so.

According to the report, the diocese no longer will require, as it had done in the past, confidentiality agreements when claims are settled. Past confidentiality agreements will not be enforced.

The diocese will perform criminal background checks on priests and other employees who work with children. It encourages people to report claims of abuse to police, prosecutors and the church.

Since 1989, the diocese has paid nearly $780,000 in uninsured settlements with victims, $722,000 for counseling and $218,000 in legal fees, according to the report. All the money came from the diocese's insurers or from interests on investments. No money from parishes, the sale of real estate or from the diocese's annual fund-raiser was used.

The diocese this month announced it would begin settlement talks with 22 people who filed a $50 million lawsuit in Lexington, alleging abuse by priests under the jurisdiction of the Covington Diocese.

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests