Shaw: List of Catholic priests suspected of abuse is incomplete

FARGO — The Catholic Dioceses of Fargo and Bismarck should be commended for finally releasing the dozens of names of clergy and religious members who have been accused of sexually abusing children. Better late than never. Full disclosure: One of the priests on the list has been a longtime family friend, and co-officiated my wedding.

“I first ask forgiveness for the shameful acts of those clergy who caused harm to young people and abused the trust placed in them by God and the faithful,” Fargo Bishop John Folda said in a statement. “No excuse can be made for these actions, nor does this release of names fully address the pain of victims of abuse.” Folda’s comments are sincere, direct and comforting.

Fargo attorney Tim O’Keeffe represents several victims of sexual abuse committed by area Catholic Church officials. “It’s a good first step,” O’Keeffe said. “We’ve waited a long time for this list.”

Nancy (not her real name) was sexually abused by a North Dakota priest when she was 12-years-old. “It was so scary,” Nancy said. “He told me not to tell anybody.”

Nancy is still receiving therapy for the abuse, and that abuse permanently changed her. “I’m still afraid of people,” Nancy said. “I used to be outgoing, but now I’m introverted. I still feel the horror.”

Seeing the name of the priest who abused her finally publicly identified by the diocese means a lot to Nancy. “I’m not the bad person anymore for accusing him,“ Nancy said. “Now, I feel so relieved. I feel totally vindicated.”

Still, O’Keeffe is not satisfied. Read the rest of the story here.

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