Diocese of Owensboro releases sexual abuse allegation stats

Updated: Oct. 8, 2018 at 9:22 AM CDT
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Diocese of Owensboro releases sexual abuse allegation stats

OWENSBORO, KY (WFIE) - The Diocese of Owensboro has released the stats about sexual abuse allegations against priests of the diocese.

The diocese reports that since 1937, the year the diocese was founded, there have been a total of 366 priests who have served in the diocese in some capacity. Out of those 366 priests, the diocese has received a total of 66 allegations by 62 individuals against 27 priests.

“One is too many," Judy Osborne a Catholic in the area said. "27 is a whole lot.”

Eleven of those 27 priests were deceased at the time of the allegation.

“One victim is one too many,” said Bishop Medley. “We hope that by releasing this information, our efforts will be two-fold: one, to encourage other victims of child sexual abuse by someone acting in the name of the Church to step forward; and two, to begin the healing process for those impacted by this deviation of morals and character by the offending priests.”

Some area Catholics say their faith still prevails.

“There’s good and bad in everything,” Jeff Payne a catholic in Owensboro said. "To me, the church is the church. Nothing would bring me away from the Catholic church.”

According to the diocese, more than $620,000 in assistance and settlements has been paid to victims of child sexual abuse since 1968, when the diocese began its partnership with Catholic Mutual Insurance.

The diocese says since 2002, when the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Diocese of Owensboro has conducted more than 27,000 background checks, trained more than 84,000 children and youth in abuse prevention, and spent more than one million dollars on both the background checks and training.

The diocese says they have received four allegations of incidents that have occurred after 2002.

“It tells me that great strides were made in 2002, but now, additional measures need to take place, especially in terms of holding our bishops accountable,” Bishop Medley remarked.

And Catholics believe it’s time to forgive and grow.

“They make mistakes," Osborne said. "We all make mistakes. So we have to forgive. But we have to correct and we have to go on.”

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