Head Count of Ousted Bishops Grows to Eighteen

When Will the Big Black Collars Finally Be Collared?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation, which published the first book exposing clergy sexual crimes against minors, and which has run a “Black Collar Crime” section in its monthly newspaper Freethought Today since 1987, is issuing an update of its list of Roman Catholic bishops felled by sex scandals.

Yesterday, a national wire story reported that 10 Roman Catholic bishops worldwide have resigned after being accused of sexual abuse. To date, the Foundation is aware of at least 14 Roman Catholic bishops worldwide who have resigned over allegations of sexual misconduct, and four additional bishops who have resigned because of sex scandal cover-ups under their watch.

“Why doesn’t the Roman Catholic church reform?” asks Freethought Today editor Annie Laurie Gaylor, who wrote the book “Betrayal of Trust: Clergy Abuse of Children” in 1988. “Because, as former priest-researcher A.W. Sipe noted years ago: ‘It’s systemic: it goes all the way to the top.’ “

Backing up that claim is the Dallas Morning News June 12 story documenting that nearly two-thirds of current U.S. bishops and archbishops have engaged in cover-ups of sexual abuse crimes or allegations in their diocese.

“The proverbial fox truly is guarding the chicken coop. The Church has been permitted to police itself, acting above the law, and has in countless instances covered up crimes, bullied and silenced witnesses, and permitted predators to stay in its ranks while gaining access to new victims. Sexual misconduct by priests has not only been tolerated and usually gone unpunished, but by all appearances has been considered a way of life in the Catholic hierarchy.

“We are pleased to see criminal investigations initiated in several cities. But we are still waiting for a prosecutor to have the guts to criminally charge a bishop with obstruction, collusion, and cover-up.

“It boggles the mind that today, U.S. bishops are actually debating whether they ought to obey the law and report allegations of suspected criminal abuse to civil authorities!

“Their outrageous ‘two-strikes-you’re-out’ draft of proposed policy, which would coddle one-time offenders, doesn’t even merit comment. Clearly there is no moral leadership at the U.S. Catholic Conference.”

Below is the updated list:

1. U.S. – Auxiliary Bishop James McCarthy, Archdiocese of New York, stepped down after admitting to several affairs with adult women. (Resigned June 11, 2002)

2. U.S. – Bishop J. Kendrick Williams, 65, Lexington, Ky., resigned after being named in civil lawsuits by three plaintiffs alleging sexual abuse, including a former altar boy, then age 12. (Resigned June 11, 2002)

3. U.S. – Archbishop Rembert Weakland, 75, Archdiocese of Milwaukee, Wis., requested an “expedited” acceptance of his retirement, after he was publicly exposed for paying $450,000 of archdiocese funds as hush money in 1998 to a man who accused him of a 1979 “date rate.” (Resigned May 24, 2002)

4. Germany – Franziskus Eisenbach, Diocese of Mainz, 58. Although denying charges, he was accused by a woman of sexual abuse and injuring her during an exorcism. (Resigned mid-April 2002)

5. Ireland – Bishop Brendan Comiskey, Diocese of Ferns. He quit after a BBC documentary aired in March showing his role in covering up for pedophile priest Rev. Sean Fortune. (Resigned April 1, 2002)

6. Poland – Archbishop Juliusz Paetz. Accused of molesting seminarians, he averred, “Not everyone understood my genuine openness and spontaneity toward people.” (Resigned March 28, 2002)

7. U.S. – Bishop Anthony J. O’Connell, Palm Beach, Fla. He admitted to making a secret settlement with a minor whom he abused in Missouri. The victim had sought counseling from O’Connell after being molested by 2 other priests. (Resigned March 8, 2002)

8. U.K. – Archbishop John Aloysius Ward, Cardiff, Wales, for ordaining a man accused of assaulting a boy, among other accusations he denied. (Resigned October 2001)

9. U.S. – Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann, Santa Rosa, Calif. He admitted to a sexual relationship with a priest who said Ziemann extorted sexual favors. (Resigned July 1999)

10. U.S. – Bishop Joseph Keith Symons, Palm Springs, Fla. He sexually abused 5 teenage boys while a parish priest. (Resigned 1998)

11. Austria – Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, Archbishop of Vienna. Fellow bishops substantiated molestation charges. (Resigned 1998)

12. Australia – Bishop Ronald Mulkearns, Bullarat. He retired amid accusations he failed to protect altar boys from a pederast priest, who pleaded guilty to 46 offenses against 20 boys and one girl. (Resigned June 1997)

13. U.S. – Archbishop Roberto Sanchez, Santa Fe, N.M. He admitted to “relationships” with 3 teenage girls; others alleged abuse. (Resigned 1993)

14. U.S. – Bishop Joseph Ferrario, Honolulu, Ha. Molestation charges, which he denied, were made against him. (Retired 1993)

15. Ireland – Bishop Eamonn Casey. He fathered a child and used church funds to pay off the mother. (Resigned 1992)

16. Canada – Bishop Hubert O’Connor. He was accused and later convicted of molesting teens at boarding schools. (Resigned 1992)

17. U.S. – Archbishop Eugene Marino, Atlanta, Ga. He was involved in scandal involving a young woman, who said the “relationship” began by rape. (Resigned 1990)

18. Canada – Archbishop Alphonsus Liguori Penney, Newfoundland. Knew about sexual and physical abuse of boys at Mt. Cashel orphanage for 10 years but did nothing (20 priests and layworkers were arrested and convicted). (Resigned 1990)

Freedom From Religion Foundation

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