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Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Crisis Continues

The Catholic Diocese of Dallas is one of the latest parishes to face claims of sexual abuse of minors. At the end of January, they posted a list of 31 accused priests, with some incidences dating back as far as 1950. Several church spokespeople, including two reverends, have spoken out about the accusations.

Reverend Arthur Unachukwu from the SMU Catholic Community Center expressed dismay at the news and called for more protection for younger parish members. Reverend Joshua Whitfield contacted his congregation’s members and urged other survivors to contact the police. Dallas has a large Catholic population, with 4,000 clergy members and 1,320 parishes, so there may be more accusations forthcoming.

First Exposure

Many of these abuse cases took place from the 1960s to the 1980s. In 2002, The Boston Globe published their exposé, the Spotlight investigation. This paved the way for survivors to share stories; the article also described an extensive cover-up by the U.S. Catholic Church. Soon after, the U.S. bishops’ conference initiated reforms on how clergy members could interact with minor children in Catholic spaces.

Since the exposé, there have been reported cases of abuse all over the country, and many believe that the Church’s failure to protect these victims damaged its reputation. For many years, critics have lambasted the Catholic Church for not holding priests and other clergy member responsible for their actions.

The Summit

Pope Francis organized an unprecedented summit at the Vatican, with the goal of stopping the abuse. Victims were scheduled to speak with members of the summit’s organizational committee about the Church’s ineffective response to the crisis. Vatican officials and bishop conference presidents were also set to attend the summit.

A Cardinal Speaks Out

As the head of the Archdiocese of Boston and a close advisor to Pope Francis, Seán O’Malley is invested in resolving the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse crisis. He oversees the Pope’s commission to protect minors and belongs to a Vatican office that preserves and protects the Catholic doctrine. He feels that the Church is starting to make changes, but major reforms are slow.

O’Malley also explained that progress in these matters has been slower than it should be, as the Vatican has not established clear procedures for dealing with the sexual misconduct. He feels that the Pope understands the gravity of the issue, but there are structural issues that must be addressed, as it is a global issue.

Unreported Cases

Even though Spotlight was published over 20 years ago, more news is still being reported, and as more stories come out, additional survivors make their voices heard. Many allegations are not publicized by the Catholic Church and accused clergy members remain in the ministry.

New Brunswick Clergy Abuse Lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr Help Clergy Abuse Survivors

The effects of clergy abuse can be long-lasting, and we can help obtain the compensation you deserve. For a free consultation, contact the experienced and compassionate New Brunswick clergy abuse lawyers at the Law Offices of Harold J. Gerr at 732-537-8570 or complete an online form. Our Highland Park, New Jersey offices serve clients in New Brunswick, Somerset, Piscataway, Edison, South River, Sayreville, Metuchen, East Brunswick, South Plainfield, Fords, Middlesex, Old Bridge, Iselin, Bound Brook, Perth Amboy, and Colonia.

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