‘I’m reminded of the Salem Witch Hunts.’
NCR‘s Joe Feuerherd reports on the issue of due process for priests who are accused of sexual abuse.
Four years ago, an adult woman informed her local diocese that a
recently ordained priest had groped her. No criminal or civil charges
were filed, but the initial investigation showed that the accusation
was plausible – that it could have happened, recalled Father Michael
Sullivan, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., a priest and canon lawyer who
previously served as judicial vicar in the Crookston, Minn., Diocese.
diocesan review board, said Father Sullivan, eventually determined that
the accusation “was a trumped-up charge.” The priest, said Father
Sullivan, had “spurned her affections,” informing her “that I’m a
celibate and we’re not going there.”
Still, said Father Sullivan, the bishop rejected the review board’s
determination and did not allow the priest to return to public
ministry. The priest has appealed the bishop’s ruling, but the case,
said Father Sullivan, is “swallowed up in Rome.” The priest currently
receives no pay or medical benefits from the diocese, said Father
The details differ from case to case, but it’s a story Father Sullivan
says he has heard countless times. Due process for priests accused of
abuse, he said, is a sham.
Read the rest right here.