The Diocese of Phoenix released a statement upon hearing of a scheduled press conference being held in Downtown Phoenix today where a law firm known for litigating clergy sexual abuse cases around the country will announce the names, histories and photographs of 109 clerics accused of child sexual abuse in the diocese.
Child and Youth Protection
The Diocese of Phoenix is committed to providing a safe environment where it values and honors every individual as created in the image and likeness of God. Great efforts have been made to put systems into place to keep our young people safe, and we will continue to work in close cooperation with law enforcement to uphold the principles of accountability and justice.
We urge anyone who knows of or has been a victim of abuse to contact law enforcement. Additionally, the Diocese of Phoenix provides support services through its Office of Child and Youth Protection.
“We are aware of the press conference scheduled for today that will provide survivors of sexual abuse the opportunity to shine a spotlight on the evil actions that have caused them and their loved ones deep suffering,” diocesan representatives said in a statement. “We share in their anguish and anger. We pray that today serves as another step along their journey to healing.
Since 2012, the Diocese of Phoenix has maintained a public list of clergy against whom a credible allegation has been made, which is available on the diocesan website.
“Sexual abuse is a tragedy against the dignity of the person,” the statement continued. “We will continue our commitment to protect the vulnerable among us, bring healing to the wounded, and keep our Church safe and centered on Jesus Christ.”
The diocese encourages anyone who has been a victim of abuse to call a local law enforcement agency.
Efforts by Diocese of Phoenix to keep the community safe include:
A comprehensive safe environment policy that has been developed and put into place and applies to every parish, school and ministry in the diocese;
Annual training for approximately 30,000 adults — including clergy, religious, employees and volunteers — on safe environment and mandatory reporting requirements;
Annual safe environment training for approximately 30,000 school and religious education students, including how to recognize and report inappropriate behaviors;
The establishment of a review board consisting of lay professionals to review and make determinations regarding any allegations against clergy. The makeup of this board includes a law enforcement officer, a licensed psychologist, a judge, a medical professional, a teacher and a parish pastor;
A zero-tolerance policy prohibiting the return to ministry of any clergy against whom a credible allegation is made.
The law firm, Jeff Anderson and Associates PA, based out of St. Paul, Minnesota, will also discuss a new law which strengthens protections for victims of child sexual abuse by extending the amount of time victims have to pursue civil action against perpetrators.
“We cannot overstate the pain and trauma suffered by victims of child sexual abuse,” Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, a Catholic, said when signing the bill, HB 2466 May 28. “We know victims need time to process and understand what happened. They deserve the time to come forward. With this bill, Arizona is taking a stand to hold abusers accountable and provide justice to victims of child sexual abuse. This reform did not come easily, but progress on the really important issues rarely ever does.”
The law, which passed unanimously in the Arizona state legislature, extends the amount of time victims have to take civil action against perpetrators of child abuse from two years to 12 years, allowing victims to pursue justice up to the age of 30. The bill also allows victims who did not have the opportunity to take civil action for their abuse due to the previous two-year limit to bring a claim against their perpetrator until Dec. 31, 2020. In addition, the bill allows civil action to be taken against an organization that knew or had notice of the sexual conduct.
In addition to the names the Diocese of Phoenix has listed on its website, it also contains links to lists from the Diocese of Tucson and the Diocese of Gallup, New Mexico, both of which included territory of what is now the Diocese of Phoenix in their jurisdictions before it was established, Dec. 2, 1969.
The website also has posted links to lists of clergy from other dioceses who had served in the Diocese of Phoenix and from religious communities which have served in the diocese, including the Cosiers, Jesuits, Franciscans and Holy Cross Priests and Brothers.
For additional information about support services for those who have been abused, please contact the Office of Child and Youth Protection at (602) 354-2396.