Oklahoma City Archdiocese misconduct report delayed again
The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City now says there’s no timetable for the repeatedly delayed release of a report on priests accused of sexual misconduct with minors.
The church “miscalculated” how long reviewing the files of past and current priests would take, archdiocese spokeswoman Diane Clay said Monday.
The archdiocese hired the Oklahoma-based law firm of McAfee and Taft to produce the report, including an analysis scrutinizing how the archdiocese responded to past allegations of abuse.
“They’re really trying to be as thorough and comprehensive as possible so that when they release their report they’ll be confident in the outcome,” Clay said.
In a statement Tuesday, the law firm said it won’t speculate on when the report will be completed but is working “as expeditiously as possible.”
Zach Hiner, executive director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said Tuesday he understands how reviewing hundreds of files dating back decades can be a monumental task, but that there’s nothing preventing the archdiocese from releasing findings as they develop.
“Put out what information that you can now and live up to that promise to be open and transparent to the public,” Hiner said.
Clay said officials have not set a new date for the report’s release. There’s no indication how many priests may be on the list.
Coakley in August called for a renewed commitment to transparency and accountability, explaining that the initial report would be followed by a second one detailing any findings from files prior to 1960. But Clay said the review of pre-1960 files has not yet begun.
The archdiocese suspended the Rev. James Mickus from the ministry last year pending an investigation of alleged sexual abuse of a minor. A lawyer for the Roman Catholic priest said the allegation wasn’t credible.
The advocacy group BishopAccountability.org names five other priests besides Mickus who at one time worked for the archdiocese and were accused of sexual misconduct. None are associated with the archdiocese anymore.
The Diocese of Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma announced Friday that the Rev. Joe Townsend was placed on administrative leave following an allegation of misconduct. He’s denied any such allegations and is cooperating with an investigation, the diocese said.
The Tulsa and Eastern Oklahoma Diocese last year identified two other priests who were facing credible accusations of abusing minors. Both men are no longer associated with that diocese.
In Arkansas, the Catholic Diocese of Little Rock last year released a list of 12 priests who served in the state and were accused of abuse. The diocese continues to investigate other allegations of misconduct.
And in January, Catholic leaders in Texas identified nearly 300 priests and others statewide accused of sexually abusing children.
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