OKC Diocese Knew of Abuse Allegation in 2001 Yet Only Added Priest to their List Now
The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City just disclosed the name of another priest with a "substantiated" allegation of child sexual abuse, despite having known about the allegation for nearly two decades. This is a disturbing revelation that calls into question the cooperation of Catholic officials with the recently released report into clergy abuse in the archdiocese.
According to The Oklahoman, Fr. Papa-Rao Pasala worked in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City for approximately a month in 2001, a short amount of time that was apparently enough for this priest to make “inappropriate but not criminal” advances towards a teenage girl. This is an alarming fact that gives us cause for concern that Fr. Pasala abused elsewhere. We fear that he has victims on both sides of 2001, and in other places.
This situation is yet another example of the intentional cover up of abuse by shuffling a priest to another country. It is especially concerning that Fr. Pasala was working in a parish in the Diocese of Baker, OR, when the allegation against him was at last "substantiated."
We call on Archbishop Paul Coakley to share details on how Fr. Pasala was transferred into and out of the archdiocese and what was done in 2001 when the allegations against him were first received. We also call on the attorney general of Oklahoma to launch his own investigation into abuse within the state, and to determine if there are any cases in the archdiocesan files, still being examined, that could be acted on by police and prosecutors today.
CONTACT: Zach Hiner, 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)