Sex abuse victim advocates call Anchorage Archdiocese report too little, too late

None of the Catholic priests reported to have been involved in sexual misconduct in a 50-year review of records released last month by the Anchorage Archdiocese was ever convicted of a crime. There is also no indication the report has prompted any new criminal investigations since its release.

The report, made public Jan. 16, is based on an independent commission’s review of the church’s records. It lists 14 employees of the Anchorage Archdiocese, 13 of whom it says engaged in sexual misconduct with minors or vulnerable adults and one who was caught viewing child pornography. The allegations span from 1956 to as recent as 2015.

Read our continuing coverage of priest abuses in Alaska

Ten of the men are alleged to have engaged in misconduct while in Alaska. Four are accused of misconduct elsewhere, after serving in Alaska.

Many dioceses across the country are making similar admissions.

Half of those listed in the Anchorage report have died since the abuse is alleged to have occurred. None of them ever faced criminal charges in Alaska, though at least two were sued along with the Anchorage Archdiocese.

Related: These priests abused in Native villages for years. They retired on Gonzaga’s campus

In releasing the report and the men’s names, officials with the Anchorage Archdiocese say they’re doing their best to encourage unknown victims to come forward and to right the wrongs of the past, while still protecting the privacy of the victims. They did not specify whether efforts had been made to report each allegation of abuse to law enforcement at the time the allegation was received.

Critics say the announcement is too little, too late.

Zach Hiner, the executive director of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, says the report is lacking crucial details.

“You know, when were the allegations first received? And what did church officials do in response?” Hiner said. “You know, that kind of information, I think, is pretty critical to understanding exactly what went wrong, and when we know what went wrong, we know how to prevent it in the future, right?”

SNAP, in a statement, also noted two priests missing from the list. Both were employed by the Anchorage Archdiocese and were accused of sexual misconduct after leaving Alaska.

Related: 33 Jesuit priests named in report on abuse claims in Alaska

In an interview, officials with the Anchorage Archdiocese said the commission that compiled the report, based on the church’s records, did not determine there was credible evidence of sexual misconduct by either of the two men, and so they were not included in the report.

The Anchorage Archdiocese officials also refused to reveal the sorts of details SNAP said were needed. They also declined to go through the allegations case by case to discuss how each of them was handled, though they said there are safeguards in place to prevent abuse now.

At the time of the report’s release in January, the bish...

Read the rest of the story here.

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant