Diocese of Columbus Settles Lawsuit, SNAP Calls for Outreach
The Catholic Diocese of Columbus has settled a lawsuit with a victim of clergy sexual abuse and we now call on church officials to update their list of accused priests. The Diocese should also share the news widely and encourage others who may have been hurt to come forward and make a report to law enforcement.
A lawsuit against the Diocese was reportedly settled for $1 million dollars. The suit accused Msgr. Thomas Bennett, a former teacher at Saint Charles Preparatory School, of sexually abusing a student. We believe the amount of this settlement should be enough to ensure that Msgr. Bennett is named on Columbus’ list of “credibly accused” priests. We call on Diocesan officials to make this update immediately. Otherwise, Catholic leaders are sending mixed messages to the community by settling a lawsuit for such a substantial sum but refusing to list Msgr. Bennet as an abuser. We fear that this will not only cause confusion among the faithful, but could also discourage other survivors from coming forward if they suspect that they will not be believed.
We also call on Bishop Robert Brennan to ensure the information about Msgr. Bennett is shared widely among the Diocesan community, and especially at each location where the monsignor worked. He should also put out a letter to alumni from Saint Charles, informing them of the settlement and encouraging anyone else who may have been hurt by Msgr. Bennett or any other school official to make a report to law enforcement immediately. Though the monsignor is now deceased, it is important for reports to be made so that the full depth of abuse can be uncovered, and so that those who may have enabled or participated in abuse can be held accountable.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (firstname.lastname@example.org, 517-974-9009)
(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)