Diocese of Charlotte Releases Incomplete List of those Accused of Abuse
Catholic officials in Charlotte, NC have finally followed in the footsteps of the vast majority of dioceses around the country and released a list of priests accused of abuse. Unfortunately, the list released today is incomplete and leaves off allegations related to other church staffers. We call on them to update this list immediately in order to provide a clearer and more complete look at abuse within the Diocese of Charlotte.
Here are four examples, easily found online, of abusers within the Diocese of Charlotte who were not listed:
- Paul L. Berrell, Music Minister
Berrell was convicted of producing child pornography while working as the music minister at St. Eugene Catholic Church in Asheville. Berrell’s victim was a student at Asheville Catholic School. Notably, the pastor at Berrell’s church, John Schneider, pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice for going to Berrell’s home after he had been arrested and deleting evidence from Berell’s computer.
- Deacon Mark Doherty
Deacon Doherty was denied ordination to the priesthood in Boston after two boys came forward to allege that he had molested them when they were 13. Despite being informed of these allegations by Cardinal Bernard Law, the deacon was hired as a teacher at Charlotte Catholic High School by Bishop William Curlin. Deacon Doherty was supervised by Monsignor Mauricio West, who himself has recently been accused of sexual misconduct.
- Seminarian John Brian Kaup
While working as a youth minister at Sacred Heart Church in Salisbury, NC, John Brian Kaup was alleged to have raped a 17-year-old girl who, in a lawsuit, described years of grooming by Kaup. Six months after the alleged incident, Kaup left the seminary program but was hired at a different church in Huntersville.
- Monsignor Mauricio West
Allegations against Monsignor West were found credible in late November. We can only assume that the monsignor was not included on the list because his victims were adults, and not children.
This is information that Catholic officials in Charlotte undoubtedly have access to and yet chose not to make public for reasons unknown. It is hard to see this as anything but continued efforts by church leadership to downplay cases of sexual violence and make the problem appear less common – and less recent – than it is.
Thanks to the information provided in this list, we have also learned that when Catholic officials reported abuse themselves, they typically only contacted the local Department of Social Services as opposed to local police. In most cases, the law enforcement was notified either by a victim directly or by the DSS agency that church leaders contacted. Given that sexual abuse is a crime, we are confused as to why Catholic officials would not contact the police directly. Church leaders in Charlotte should clarify this reporting procedure and explain why they did not deign to inform law enforcement directly. We hope that any allegations they receive in the future will be properly routed to police first instead of to government agencies that do not investigate crimes.
Now that this list has been released, we hope that it brings comfort and healing to survivors who see their perpetrator listed. For those victims of abusers who are not included on the list, we encourage them to come forward and report their abuse to law enforcement and prosecutors immediately. And we urge Catholic officials in Charlotte to ensure that this list is distributed to every parish in the diocese, posted prominently on diocesan websites and in church bulletins, and that every step is taken to inform communities throughout the diocese so that children will be protected and survivors will be encouraged to come forward.
(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)