Missouri Priest Accused of Abuse Resigns After Allegation Deemed “Credible”
A Catholic priest accused of abuse in the Diocese of Jefferson City has resigned his position following a determination that the allegation was “credible” but not able to be corroborated. We are disturbed that diocesan officials are speaking out of both sides of their mouth in this situation and hope that others who may have knowledge in this case will come forward to police and prosecutors.
There are rarely witnesses or video evidence for sex crimes, so we are not surprised that the allegation against Fr. Mark Porterfield was not corroborated. But the fact that the claim was determined to be “credible” by Catholic officials is enough to demand action and we are glad that Fr. Porterfield is no longer leading a parish.
Victims of sexual abuse have long been disbelieved and marginalized, especially by the institutions they have accused, and we are disappointed that diocesan officials are playing both sides in this situation. Rather than continue to cast doubt on allegations by referring to them as “not corroborated,” Bishop Shawn McKnight should be using every resource at his disposal to encourage other victims and witnesses to come forward and make a report to police.
(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)