Sunday 17 November 2019

Scores of priests are accused of abuse in new probe

At least 166 children have been sexually abused at the hands of 43 Roman Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, an investigative report has disclosed, far exceeding the scale of the scandal previously documented in the state. Stock image
At least 166 children have been sexually abused at the hands of 43 Roman Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, an investigative report has disclosed, far exceeding the scale of the scandal previously documented in the state. Stock image

Keith Coffman

At least 166 children have been sexually abused at the hands of 43 Roman Catholic priests in Colorado since 1950, an investigative report has disclosed, far exceeding the scale of the scandal previously documented in the state.

The scathing 263-page report, presented by former US Attorney Robert Troyer, accused the Archdiocese of Denver and the Dioceses of Pueblo and Colorado Springs of fostering a culture of secrecy which placed the reputations of offending clergy and church leaders over the welfare of children.

"This dynamic in the Colorado Dioceses was a severe impediment to the protection of children, and it is one (they) are not done addressing," the independent report said.

Predators

Most of the abuse took place decades ago, although one case found to be "arguably still viable for prosecution" has been referred to authorities for further criminal investigation, the review said. The alleged offender was not identified.

In documenting the church's failure to protect its youth from predators, the report cited the example of one now-deceased Denver area priest, George Weibel, who investigators concluded had molested at least two girls under the guise of teaching them to swim or ice skate.

One victim reported the abuse to another priest, who failed to notify superiors because he was good friends with Weibel, according to the report commissioned by the state attorney general's office.

"He did not report it to Denver Archdiocese authorities, and he did not even record her (the victim's) report until years later. As a result, the Denver Archdiocese did not take any action against Weibel," the report said.

Irish Independent

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