Diocese of Rapid City, SD to Get New Bishop
A new bishop has been chosen to lead one of the smallest Catholic dioceses in the nation. We call on him to make the protection of children and the prevention of abuse his number one priority now that he is officially in charge.
Fr. Peter M. Muhich, a priest from the Diocese of Duluth, has been chosen by Pope Francis to lead the Diocese of Rapid City, SD. That diocese has a sordid history with clergy abuse, having once been headed by a bishop who was himself an abuser. Bishop-elect Muhich now has the chance to come in and make his mark by leading the diocese into a new era of openness, transparency, and protection for children and the vulnerable.
The Diocese of Rapid City last year publicly released their list of accused clerics, and we believe that Fr. Muhich can demonstrate his commitment to prevention and transparency by immediately opening up the records, secret archives, and personnel files of the diocese to local police and prosecutors for review. No institution can police itself, and we believe that there is an opportunity for the new bishop to demonstrate that the protection of children and the rooting out of sexual abusers within the church is his priority.
The bishop-elect can also show that he is different from his predecessors by working to support victims in South Dakota who have been trying to bring much needed reform to the state’s statute of limitations laws. The most recent attempt to amend these laws was defeated this February, but if Fr. Muhich and the Diocese of Rapid City were to support the efforts of survivors instead of fighting against them it could make a world of difference for victims and their families in South Dakota.
Fr. Muhich has an opportunity to make a big mark in this small diocese. We hope he will take the steps outlined here and show survivors and advocates in South Dakota that he is bringing much-needed change with him.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected])
(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)