Number of alleged sex abusers greater than church has revealed
By Madeleine Baran
At the height of the national clergy abuse scandal 11 years ago, Archbishop Harry Flynn gave speeches across the country condemning child abuse and vowing to change the church.
Meanwhile, the Rev. Kevin McDonough, his deputy at the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, sat in a chancery office and checked boxes on a form. He was completing the U.S. Catholic Church's first survey of abusive priests.
McDonough selected 33 priests. He wrote down their initials and dates of birth and sent them to researchers. The 33 men became known as the "credibly accused priests." The paperwork McDonough submitted became known as "the list." The archdiocese acknowledged the existence of the list in 2003 but declined to release the names.
The list symbolized all that victims believed was wrong about the Catholic Church's handling of abuse claims — the secrecy, the failure to warn the public, the hidden offenders. Victims' attorney Jeff Anderson received the list under court seal as part of a lawsuit in 2009. In December,a judge ordered the archdiocese to release the names to the public. The secrecy appeared finished.
But it wasn't. The list of 33 was incomplete. An MPR News investigation has found the actual number was more than double the archdiocese's official count. The priests served in nearly every parish in the archdiocese.
They include men who admitted abusing children, such as the Rev. Gerald Funcheon, who testified under oath in 2012 that he had sexually abused a number of boys. "I couldn't count 'em up," he said. "I'll go, I don't know. I'll go to 18 ... I can't give you a number on this."
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.