Some question if Colorado probe of Catholic Church will uncover full scope of priests' abuse
DENVER – As investigations in other states produce arrests and unearth abuse allegations within the Catholic Church, some people in Colorado are questioning if negotiations before the state’s review began will protect the church’s reputation and prevent the disclosure of decades worth of closely held secrets.
Three survivors of abuse at the hands of priests – in New Mexico, Kansas and Massachusetts – are now longtime Colorado residents and have renounced their membership with the church as they closely monitor the state’s investigation into archdioceses here.
Those who spoke to Contact7 Investigates told stories of abuse as a 12-year-old altar boy at the hands of a New Mexico priest, as a young girl being “passed around” by priests in Kansas and as a middle school altar boy in Massachusetts who was fondled by his priest at age 13.
In February, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser and Archbishop Samuel Aquila announced that former U.S. Attorney for Colorado Robert Troyer would lead an independent review into the sexual abuse of minors in the three Colorado dioceses . They also announced the creation of an independent compensation fund for victims of the abuse – a combined effort between the AG’s office and the church.
However, the review is not a criminal investigation: The attorney general’s office has provided resources to local district attorneys to investigate any new criminal conduct that is uncovered.
Half of the review by Troyer is funded by the three dioceses and the other half is privately funded by donors picked by Weiser’s office.
But that differs from the investigations in some other states. Pennsylvania’s attorney general used the power of a two-year grand jury investigation , which uncovered “widespread sexual abuse of children in six dioceses” involving 300 priests and 1,000 victims, which the attorney general called a “systemic cover up” involving the Pennsylvania dioceses and the Vatican.
Investigations followed in almost two-dozen states, including New York, Michigan and Texas. In Houston, the archdiocese named more than 40 priests who were cr...