Documents Prove the Diocese of Knoxville Lied to the Public about Cases of Clergy Abuse
Once again, church officials have claimed to be open and honest in cases of clergy abuse. Once again, it is journalists and secular advocates who have shown that claim to be false.
The revelation that church officials from the Diocese of Knoxville knew for more than a year about allegations against priests and diocesan employees – allegations that those church officials were publicly discrediting and dismissing – is beyond the pale. It is an example of brazen arrogance by diocesan officials and of wanton disrespect for parents, parishioners, and the public. This news makes it clear that the Diocese of Knoxville cannot be trusted to safeguard children or to be honest in reckoning with legitimate abuse reports.
The descriptions in this article about how the victim was treated should be alarming to any Tennessean, especially for Catholic parishioners and parents of children at church run schools. The apparent callousness in reviewing the report made by the victim as an adult, and the obvious cover up perpetrated by the Bishop, demands outside, secular oversight.
The only way to create a safe environment is for the Diocese of Knoxville to be audited by a secular authority. By using subpoena power and the ability to compel testimony under oath, the secret archives that church officials have kept on cases of sexual violence can finally be revealed. The exposure of those files can lead to meaningful reforms that will protect children and provide victims with some semblance of justice.
(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)