More Abuse Allegations Against Catholic Priests

A report from the Catholic Archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland includes 350 accusations of sexual abuse against more than 100 priests since 1940. The Irish government plans to launch an inquiry into abuse in the Church, and the number of complainants is expected to rise as they are encouraged to come forward to help in the investigation. The inquiry will focus on cases dating back to 1975, and will also involve contacting bishops to ensure that complaints of abuse are now being appropriately handled. A similar inquiry in the Ferns diocese last November found that a bishop had shielded priests from abuse allegations by shuffling them to different parishes.

The Archbishop of Dublin, Diarmuid Martin, chose to release the findings of the internal report in advance of the inquiry, in a spirit of full cooperation. He told the Irish Times that he has encountered priests angry about his cooperation with law enforcement and arguing that the rights of priests are being trampled by “over-strict” measures on the part of bishops regarding abuse allegations. Currently, eight Dublin priests are in jail, over 100 civil suits have been brought against 32 priests, and 65 of those suits have been settled at a cost of almost six million Euros, reports the Independent.

Meanwhile, a woman in the United States has filed a claim against a leading American bishop. She alleges that she was abused by William Skylstad for a period of four years in the early 1960s while she was underage. Skylstad is the current president of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops and leader of the Spokane, Washington diocese. This claim is one of 135 that have been filed in the Spokane diocese, one of only three American dioceses to have filed for bankruptcy protection in settling its abuse claims. It is not yet clear whether Skylstad, who denies the allegations, will step down from his leadership roles during the investigation.

LEARN MORE Read Angela Bonavoglia’s “New Battleground for Survivors of Priest Child Sex Abuse” at MsMagazine.com

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Associated Press 3/9/06; Independent 3/9/06; Irish Times 3/9/06; Reuters 3/8/06

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