Saturday, 6 June 2015

Catholic Archdiocese Charges for Criminality Over Child Abuse

US prosecutors laid criminal charges against the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis on Friday for its failure to protect children from sexual abuse at the hands of a disgraced priest.

The archdiocese in the northern state of Minnesota is one of a number of Catholic institutions which has declared bankruptcy in the wake of massive payouts to the victims of clergy sex abuse.
“We are alleging a disturbing institutional and systemic pattern of behavior committed by the highest levels of leadership of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis over the course of decades,” Ramsey County Attorney John Choi said in a statement.
Choi said the church failed to respond to “numerous and repeated reports” of troubling conduct by Curtis Wehmeyer leading all the way back to when he first entered the seminary in 1997. He was defrocked in March 2015.
“By taking these actions, we are determined to hold the Archdiocese accountable for its crimes, achieve justice on behalf of the victims and our community, and take all necessary steps to ensure that such failures by the Archdiocese never happen again,” he said.
The criminal charges include three separate counts of contributing to the need for protection of a child related to the abuse of three separate victims.
The archdiocese was not immediately available for comment.
The scandal over pedophile priests first engulfed the Catholic Church in the United States in 2002. In the fallout senior church officials acknowledged they had protected priests responsible for the sexual abuse of children.
The church has struggled to repair its reputation and compensate victims.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops now produces an annual study of sexual abuse allegations.
The latest found that the Catholic Church in the United States forked out $120 million to victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy and $30 million on pedophile prevention programs between June of 2013 and June of 2014.
The report said there were 657 allegations of underage sexual abuse by priests, of which 130 have been recognized and 243 are still under investigation and the rest unproven. Most allegations relate to events that took place years earlier.



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