Abuse Allegations Against Retired Priest in Columbus Found Credible
Allegations of abuse against a retired priest from the Diocese of Columbus have been found “credible.” We call on Catholic officials to do outreach to other potential victims and to explain why the allegation was not found “credible” when it was first reported, despite the fact that the cleric was "retired" and barred from ministry.
Fr. David Schilder was first accused of abuse in 2004, but Church officials from the Dicoese of Columbus did not find the allegations “credible.” Making matters worse, they turned the allegations over to local children services instead of law enforcement officials. Interestingly, when another allegation was reported to the diocese in September, Catholic officials this time properly routed the allegations to the police.
Reporting allegations to the wrong agency is something that Catholic officials have done elsewhere. The practice conveniently lets them say that they “immediately reported the allegations,” despite the fact that the information went to an agency that is designed to investigate currently ongoing claims of abuse, not historical ones.
Church leaders in Columbus owe the public an explanation for the process used in 2004, as well as proof that they are turning all allegations of abuse over to police now, not just allegations against priests who have already been accused. They also owe it to the public to publicize the allegations widely, to ensure that communities are informed about the abuse and to encourage other victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and get help.
(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)