FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CNS) — The Fort Wayne-South Bend Diocese’s release of the names of priests and deacons credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor “is an appropriate step and part of a commitment to openness and transparency by the church in this area,” said a member of the Diocesan Review Board.
“I am hopeful too that it will bring some solace and healing to the victims and their families,” said Donald Schmid in a Sept. 19 statement, a day after the diocese released the list.
Since 2002, the diocese has had in place “robust procedures and processes to keep children and vulnerable adults safe,” he added. “More than 17,000 people who work or volunteer with children in the Diocese or Diocesan schools have received safe environment training and criminal background checks. The Catholic Church and its schools are safe places for children today.”
In August, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades announced he would release the names, saying that it was important for victims to see the names of their abusers made public “for all to see, for everyone to know the pain caused by these priests.”
“It is my hope that by releasing these names, the innocent victims of these horrific and heartbreaking crimes can finally begin the process of healing,” Bishop Rhoades said at an Aug. 17 news conference.
He reiterated the diocese’s commitment to protect children and young people saying, “We must be vigilant in our efforts to protect our youth. With the Lord’s guidance and love, we will do so.”
The list of the names of priests and deacons who have served in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and have been credibly accused of at least one act of sexual abuse of a minor consists of: James Blume, Michael Buescher, Brian Carsten, William Ehrman, William Gieranowski, John Gillig, Gabriel Hernandez, Edward Krason, Paul LeBrun, CSC (Congregation of Holy Cross), Thomas Lombardi, Robert Mahoney, Eldon Miller, Edward O. Paquette, Cornelius Ryan, CSC, James Seculoff, Richard Stieglitz, Richard Thompson and James Trepanier, CSC.
A news release said the list was developed with the assistance of the Diocesan Review Board, which was established to assist the bishop in complying with the requirements of the U.S. bishops’ “Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People” and the “Essential Norms” for implementing the charter.
For the purposes of this list, the diocese said, a “credible accusation” against a priest or deacon is one that, after a thorough investigation and review of available information, appears more likely true than not in the judgment of the review board and is accepted as credible by the bishop.
The Diocesan Review Board is comprised of mostly laypeople and its members assess all allegations of sexual abuse of minors by priests and deacons presented in this diocese. In determining credibility for the purpose of the list, Bishop Rhoades followed the recommendations of the Diocesan Review Board.
“Bishop Rhoades has demonstrated great sensitivity and care for victims of sexual abuse and has carried out a zero-tolerance policy for priests credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults,” said Schmid.
He said it has been his experience in serving on the board that the bishop “has promptly and in all cases removed from public ministry and pursued canon law sanctions against priests under his authority where the allegations and available evidence warrant such removal and sanctions.”
Schmid noted that the published list involved priests and deacons who committed abuse prior to 2002, “although victims continue to step forward courageously to report abuse from that era. … We will be ever on guard to prevent and forthrightly deal with any alleged current incidents of abuse.”
Join the CatholicPhilly.com family
CatholicPhilly.com works to strengthen the connections between people, families and communities every day by delivering the news people need to know about the Catholic Church, especially in the Philadelphia region, and the world in which we live.
By your donation in any amount, you and hundreds of other people become part of our mission to inform, form in the Catholic faith and inspire the thousands of readers who visit every month.
Here is how you can help:
- A $100 gift allows us to present award-winning photos of Catholic life in our neighborhoods.
- A $50 gift enables us to cover a news event in a local parish, school or Catholic institution.
- A $20 gift lets us obtain solid faith formation resources that can deepen your spirituality and knowledge of the faith.
- A small, automated monthly donation means you can support us continually and easily.
Won't you consider making a gift today?
Please join in the church's vital mission of communications by offering a gift in whatever amount that you can ― a single gift of $40, $50, $100, or more, or a monthly donation. Your gift will strengthen the fabric of our entire Catholic community and sustain CatholicPhilly.com as your trusted news source. Thank you in advance!
Make your donation by credit card here:
Or make your donation by check:
222 N. 17th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103
PREVIOUS: N.Y. Archdiocese names judge as independent reviewer on abuse protocols
NEXT: Retired Green Bay auxiliary bishop withdraws from public ministry
Share this story