AP Survey of Abuse Cases (continued)
A priest in the Baltimore Archdiocese was charged this month with
lying to police to cover up his encounter with a male prostitute.
Church officials have removed the Rev. Steven Paul Girard from duty.
Archdiocese spokesman Ray Kempisty said the church also has received
calls from alleged abuse victims, which it is now checking, but
none of the cases involved priests currently in ministry. The incidents
allegedly happened decades ago, he said.
Two lay teachers at Catholic schools have also been charged with
having inappropriate contact with female students this year.
Boston has been the epicenter of the growing sexual abuse scandal
since January, when church documents released as part of a civil
lawsuit showed the archdiocese moved serial molester John Geoghan
from parish to parish despite allegations of sexual abuse of children.
Since then, nearly 500 people have come forward claiming they were
abused by Boston-area priests. The archdiocese itself sent prosecutors
the names of 87 priests accused of sexual misconduct over the past
50 years. Further revelations that the archdiocese did little about
repeated allegations against the Rev. Paul Shanley, known as a proponent
of sex between men and boys, only intensified public outrage and
boosted calls for the resignation of Cardinal Bernard Law.
Law, who made a secret trip to Rome prior to last week's Vatican
(news - web sites) summit, has so far rejected the idea of giving
up his post. He said the subject of his possible resignation "never
came up" at the meeting.
At least seven priests have resigned or been removed this year
amid sexual misconduct allegations. In at least five cases, the
charges involved minors. Another priest, removed last year, was
charged April 5 with raping a 48-year-old woman.
Five of the state's seven Roman Catholic dioceses say they're reviewing
sexual abuse policies, and church leaders have addressed the scandal
from the pulpit, or in letters and discussions with clergy.
In April, the Archdiocese of Detroit relented to pressure from
prosecutors and agreed to hand over internal reports about its investigations
of clergy sex abuse.
While state law doesn't require clergy to turn over information
about abuse, two of the state's dioceses say their policies require
such information be given to authorities. There has been talk among
lawmakers about including clergy in reporting requirements.
No allegations of sexual misconduct have surfaced in Minnesota's
five Catholic dioceses this year, though the dioceses of Minneapolis/St.
Paul, Crookston and Duluth are reviewing their policies for investigating
allegations of sexual misconduct.
In response to lobbying by a victim of a priest's sexual abuse,
the Legislature considered giving Minnesotans more time to file
claims of childhood sexual abuse. The proposal was opposed by local
churches and other child-serving institutions and died in the state
House on April 9.
Church officials have acknowledged two abuse-related cases, one
in which a priest was suspended from his duties, but have not released
the names of the priests or other details.
The Rev. Michael Flannery of the Jackson Diocese said a committee
composed of a state appeals court judge, two attorneys, a nurse
and three clinical psychologists, has reviewed the church's sex
abuse policies and is considering a revision this summer.
More than a half-dozen priests have been removed since the scandal
broke in January. Among them was the Rev. Bryan Kuchar, 36, of the
St. Louis area, who was criminally charged April 11 with sexually
abusing a teen-age boy in 1995.
The Jefferson City Diocese has also closed St. Thomas Seminary
in Hannibal, Mo., where former Palm Beach, Fla., Bishop Anthony
O'Connell allegedly abused several seminarians from the late 1960s
through the 1980s. In closing the seminary, Bishop John Gaydos said
the scandal has made recruitment all but impossible.
In St. Louis, a man who was forced out of the priesthood in 1977
amid sexual abuse allegations was arrested earlier this month for
allegedly exposing himself to boys at the St. Louis grade school
where he worked as a counselor. Archdiocese and school officials
have argued about how James Beine was allowed to work in nearly
a dozen schools since he left the clergy.
The Rev. Joseph Hart was twice accused of sexual misconduct with
boys while he served the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph during
the 1960s and 1970s. He later became bishop for the Diocese of Cheyenne,
Wyo., and has since retired. He has denied the allegations.
Three people in the Great Falls-Billings Diocese have come forward
this year to tell church officials they were sexually abused by
priests years ago. The church is investigating all reports, two
of which date from 30 to 40 years ago. The other involves a priest
who officials believe is no longer active in the ministry.
The Omaha Archdiocese dismissed a 62-year-old priest from his job
as a pastor and allowed him retire early following accusations that
he sexually abused boys at four parishes more than 30 years ago.
The claims against the Rev. Thomas Sellentin are too old to be prosecuted
in criminal court. No civil lawsuits have been filed.
The Rev. Robert Allgaier is to stand trial in June on charges of
attempted possession of child pornography and has been suspended
from his duties. After being caught in one parish, Allgaier admitted
to church officials he often viewed child porn, but the Omaha archdiocese
never notified police. Instead, Allgaier was transferred to another
parish where he was a middle-school teacher. Allgaier was arrested
in February after police received a tip from a concerned teacher.
A priest in a Las Vegas suburb was charged last week with fondling,
photographing and massaging teen-age boys he was counseling at his
Rev. Mark Roberts, 51, was charged with two felonies for allegedly
using minors in the production of pornography after being accused
of taking Polaroid photos of two boys. He also faces seven gross
misdemeanor charges, including lewdness and child abuse.
The Diocese of Las Vegas says the Roberts case is the only one
in Nevada involving an active Catholic clergy member accused of
sexual misconduct. He was suspended Jan. 30 from his parish in Henderson.
The case became public after eight boys filed a civil lawsuit in
March against Roberts, the diocese, Bishop Joseph A. Pepe, and former
Las Vegas Bishop Daniel Walsh, now bishop in Santa Rosa, Calif.
The Diocese of Manchester in February gave prosecutors the names
of 14 priests with allegations of sex abuse against them. Seven
already were suspended, the others were suspended that day. The
diocese released the name of another previously suspended priest
a month later. Authorities are still investigating the claims.
On Friday, allegations surfaced against two more priests. The Rev.
George H. Robichaud was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting
a boy in 1985. The Rev. Edward D. Richard was removed from his church
pending an abuse investigation.
The state attorney general's office has said it is investigating
allegations against more than 40 others. Those complaints were made
to authorities by alleged victims.
Bishop John B. McCormack, who was in charge of ministerial personnel
in the Archdiocese of Boston from 1984 to 1994, has been accused
in lawsuits of shuffling around Massachusetts priests accused of
abusing children, and of ignoring complaints about them. He stepped
down this month as chairman of a national committee studying the
scandal for the U.S. bishops' conference.
The state's five dioceses have been providing authorities the names
priests and staff accused of abuse, though prosecutors have often
found the cases are too old for criminal charges.
The Archdiocese of Newark relieved two priests following allegations
of abuse or inappropriate conduct. The Trenton Diocese screened
50 years of records for sex abuse allegations, removed one priest
and provided authorities the names of 13. Camden Bishop Nicholas
DiMarzio supplied prosecutors the names of 19 priests, 12 of whom
had already been named in lawsuits against the diocese. The remainder
were no longer active in the ministry. One lawsuit against the diocese
is being tried. Two priests in the Metuchen Diocese have taken leaves
of absence after the diocese learned of abuse allegations, one dating
back 20 years and the other to the 1950s and 1960s. The Diocese
of Paterson has placed two priests on administrative leave after
learning of allegations they had sexual contact with minors more
than two decades ago.
The Archdiocese of Santa Fe, covering most of New Mexico, was battered
by sex scandals in the early 1990s but has not been hit with "credible"
new accusations in recent years, Archbishop Michael Sheehan told
a news conference Friday. Even so, he said two priests have been
removed in recent weeks from parish duties, one based on old complaints
and a second as a precaution even though allegations were unsubstantiated
from a third-person source. Bishop Ricardo Ramirez of Las Cruces
said his diocese sent a priest back to New York, where he had been
accused of abusing minors.
Soon after the Boston scandals erupted early the year, questions
began to arise about clergy sex abuse in the New York City area.
With public scrutiny rising, the New York Archdiocese and the Brooklyn
and Rockville Centre dioceses each turned over information about
accusations against priests to district attorneys.
New York Cardinal Edward Egan has been criticized for his handling
of allegations against priests when he was bishop of Bridgeport,
Conn., and released a letter before the Vatican summit saying he
apologized "if, in hindsight," he made any mistakes in
handling such charges. The New York Archdiocese has also freed sex
abuse victims from any legal promises they made to remain silent
about their cases.
One priest on Long Island, the Rev. Michael Hands, was convicted
in March of sodomizing a teen-age boy. He faces similar charges
in Suffolk County.
Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota announced this month
that a special grand jury would be formed to look solely at cases
of sexual misconduct involving priests. He has said evidence collected
so far indicates a possible cover-up.
In upstate New York, one priest has been reassigned to administrative
duties, another has resigned and a third is being investigated by
his diocese as the result of sex abuse allegations this year. The
complaints all date back a decade or more, and one is at least 30
The Diocese of Raleigh has removed three priests from their parishes
after allegations surfaced against them; all the charges originated
in other states where they worked.
The Diocese of Charlotte, meanwhile, relieved a priest of his duties
last week at a Greensboro parish following allegations of sexually
inappropriate behavior in another state.
Charlotte also placed another priest on administrative leave pending
the outcome of an abuse investigation. It has also alerted authorities
to at least three other cases from 25 years ago or longer.
The Charlotte Diocese confirmed this month that in the 1990s it
used its money and insurance funds to pay parents who accused a
priest of sexually abusing their sons.
The Raleigh Diocese held a day of prayer April 14 "for the
church in crisis."
Two western North Dakota priests were stripped of the power to
perform sacraments and resigned parish posts after Bishop Paul Zipfel
of Bismarck adopted a "zero tolerance" policy toward molestation
in March. A third priest resigned as a seminary teacher and is under
criminal investigation after telling Fargo Bishop Samuel Aquila
in February that he had molested children while a parish priest.
The Bismarck Diocese said that two priests, Steve Zastoupil and
Norman Dukart, had admitted molesting children decades ago and had
been disciplined. Zipfel's new policy prompted him to ask both men
to resign from their parishes. Prosecutors do not plan to file charges.
In the Fargo case, state Crime Bureau agents are interviewing four
families as they investigate the Rev. Charles Fischer's conduct
while he served parishes between 1995 and 2000. Aquila barred him
from performing sacraments, but Fischer has not been charged with
In the Cleveland Diocese, the Rev. Don A. Rooney killed himself
earlier this month, just three days after being accused of a molesting
a girl in 1980. Eleven priests have been suspended in Cleveland
and an independent commission has been created to review policy.
In Cincinnati, prosecutors subpoenaed archdiocese records, and
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk was summoned before a county grand
jury April 18.
He was excused from testifying because his office turned over information
which authorities were seeking. He is the only U.S. archbishop subpoenaed
to testify before a grand jury, according to a leading victims'
The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City this month republished its 1991
policy regarding sexual abuse allegations from minors; the policy
was printed in its newspaper, the Sooner Catholic. The policy quotes
an Oklahoma law requiring mandatory reporting of such allegations
to law enforcement officials. The archdiocese continuously reviews
the policy, said the Rev. Edward Weisenburger.
An 82-year-old priest, the Rev. Louis Charvet, was recalled to
the Benedictine Abbey in Mount Angel this month pending an investigation
of claims by 58-year-old David Schmidt that Charvet and another
priest, who has since died, molested him in the 1950s.
Oregon Archbishop John Vlazny has publicly urged victims of priest
abuse to contact the archdiocese.
At least 23 active priests accused of abuse have been removed from
assignments since Jan. 1 as a result of reviews by diocesan officials
and new claims by alleged victims.
In all but a few cases, the allegations were decades old. District
attorneys throughout the state have pressed church officials for
more information on old cases, though the statute of limitations
makes prosecutions unlikely.
Philadelphia Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua ordered priests to
observe a "day of atonement" last Wednesday. The Philadelphia
Archdiocese said in February that credible abuse allegations had
been made against 35 priests over five decades.
The Diocese of Providence suspended the Rev. Normand J. Demers
in early April after a man accused him of sexually assaulting him
at least 35 years ago. Demers, who has denied the allegations, is
the state's only priest to be suspended since Jan. 1.
The Rev. Daniel Azzarone was indicted April 5 on charges he sexually
assaulted two people over a one-year period. He was first arrested
in November and suspended by the diocese at that time.
The Rev. Juan Carlos Castano of Rock Hill was charged in March
with committing a lewd act on a minor for allegedly fondling a 4-year-old
girl in her home in September 2000. He is awaiting trial.
The Diocese of Charleston suspended Castano the day before his
arrest. He is the state's only priest suspended or otherwise disciplined
by the church since Jan. 1, diocese spokesman John Carroll said.
South Dakota has been spared from the scandal: Officials in the
Sioux Falls and Rapid City dioceses knew of no recent abuse allegations.
The Sioux Falls Diocese has invited the state attorney general's
office to review its procedures for handling abuse cases.
There have been no allegations of sex abuse by priests. But Catholics
were stunned by the resignation of Bishop Anthony O'Connell of Palm
Beach Fla., who admitted abusing a seminarian in Missouri decades
ago. O'Connell was the founding bishop of the Knoxville Diocese
and served there for 10 years beginning in 1988.
Since the Dallas Diocese was hit with a huge 1997 verdict involving
a priest who molested altar boys, it has imposed strict guidelines
to combat sexual abuse. They require fingerprinting and criminal
background checks for all workers, mandate the installation of windows
in every office door and forbid adults to be alone with children
in certain circumstances. In April, the diocese reassigned two priests
for failing to fully implement the background checks.
In the San Antonio Diocese, a priest was suspended for incidents
that allegedly occurred more than 30 years ago.
In a state where Catholics make up just 8 percent of the population,
there have been no major developments in the sex abuse scandal.
The statewide Diocese of Burlington said that since Jan. 1 it has
received "a few" allegations of abuse against priests,
all dating back decades.
Church leaders met Attorney General William Sorrell (news, bio,
voting record) earlier this month to discuss sex abuse, and Sorrell
criticized the church following the session for not being responsive
enough to his questions.
Sorrell said his office had gathered information independently
leading him to believe there were some priests who had committed
sexual abuses in the past who were still active in the diocese.
He did not suggest a number but said his office had received about
a dozen calls.
The Diocese of Richmond announced Monday more stringent guidelines
for hiring church volunteers. Criminal background checks will now
be mandatory for all volunteers, just as they are for lay and religious
parish employees, said the Rev. Pasquale Apuzzo, secretary to Bishop
Walter F. Sullivan. Previously, background checks on volunteers
Kathleen Kenney, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Arlington, said
no changes have been made to Arlington's sexual abuse policies this
year, since they were just reviewed last year.
Since Jan. 1, one priest has been accused of molestation. In complaints
dating back to the 1960s, five men have alleged the Rev. John Cornelius
abused them. Cornelius has denied the allegations. He was placed
on paid administrative leave from an Everett parish in April.
A similar allegation was made in 1996, after which the archdiocese
demoted him and transferred him from Seattle to Everett.
Cornelius, 50, a former Seattle city police chaplain, has been
an adoption activist and has adopted 13 children himself.
The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston is updating its child sexual
abuse policy to make it mandatory for priests to report suspected
abuse to authorities, conforming to state law. The current policy
"includes the expectation" that clergy will report suspected
abuse. Bishop Bernard Schmitt has ordered a review of the personnel
files of active and retired priests and the files of priests from
outside the diocese who are serving in the state. The diocese has
declined to discuss the findings.
At least nine priests are being investigated on suspicion of sexual
abuse of minors. Two of them, one each from the Diocese of Green
Bay and the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, have been suspended.
Two of the state's five dioceses have named task forces to review
the personnel files of priests. The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is
reviewing the cases of all accused archdiocesan priests, while the
Green Bay Diocese will examine the files of all its priests.
Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland also called a meeting of
all archdiocesan priests to discuss the sexual abuse scandal.
Earlier this month, Bishop Raphael Fliss of the Diocese of Superior
apologized for failing to more thoroughly investigate a priest for
alleged sexual misconduct in the early 1980s.
The Diocese of Cheyenne says it has no evidence that any priests
have abused minors. Bishop David Ricken may review the diocese's
1994 policy on handling abuse allegations after he attends the June
meeting of the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops. Ricken has assured
the faithful that the state's 41 priests can be trusted.