Schrader: Report on Catholic clergy sexual abuse leaves a big question unanswered
What did Colorado’s archbishops know and when?
That question is left unanswered by the Special Master’s Report into “Roman Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse of Children in Colorado from 1950 to 2019.”
In sharp contrast, the Pennsylvania Grand Jury report released in 2018 began with a proclamation that because so much of the abuse had exceeded the statute of limitations or the abusers were dead the only recourse was to “name their names, and describe what they did — both the sex offenders and those who concealed them.”
Colorado’s report got the first half right but punted on holding the enablers of these rapists accountable. Not a single name of any church leader is included in the report, which was produced through the Attorney General’s office by special investigator Bob Troyer.
Yes, each individual is responsible for his own actions. But when five priests are allowed to abuse 100 children in the course of several decades, I believe the responsibility also falls on those who knew and did nothing. From 1950 to 2009, only one case was voluntarily reported to law enforcement although the church received dozens of reports of abuse, Troyer wrote in his report. (It must be noted that since then — under the leadership of Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila who took over in 2012 — every single report of abuse has been given to law enforcement, even in cases where it might not have been required by law.)
The Pennsylvania Grand Jury organized its report by the six geographic dioceses that were included in the probe, and each section begins with a history of bishops of the diocese (so we can know who was in charge when which reported abuse case was being ignored) and it even listed “additional church leadership … relevant to the Grand Jury investigation.”
Names were named and heads rolled.
Cardinal Donald Wuerl, resigned his position as archbishop in Washington, D.C., after the report detailed his personal handling of abuse cases as an archbishop in Pennsylvania. Many of those were never reported to law enforcement, and perh...