Louisville Catholic archdiocese reports on priest abuses
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — The Catholic Archdiocese of Louisville released a report Friday that documents priests who have been accused of sexual abuse dating to the 1930s.
The report, prepared by a former federal prosecutor, names 22 priests ordained between 1932 and 1985 who were described as being credibly accused of past abuse. All 22 are either deceased, were removed from ministry or are in prison. The archdiocese says there were 12 more priests who had been accused but there was incomplete information. Eleven of those priests have died.
Louisville Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said the report could expand if new victims come forward.
“Our primary purpose today is healing,” Kurtz said at a news conference Friday in Louisville. “Healing of people who are victims, survivors, many of whom I’ve spoken directly to, and who have told me that having a report and a list of credibly accused priests will provide validation for something that has been part of their life, often for many decades.”
The report also listed 13 members of religious orders who have been accused of sexual abuse of minors. The archdiocese said it has limited records on those priests, and those reports are referred to the religious order for a response. The report also named former Lexington Bishop J. Kendrick Williams, who was accused of abuse and resigned in 2002.
The Louisville archdiocese report said three former priests, Louis Miller, Arthur Wood and Daniel Clark, were responsible for more than 170 reported cases.
Jeff Koenig, a member of the Louisville chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a victim advocacy organization, called the report “inadequate.” Koenig said he hoped that other victims would come forward, noting that not all the abuse happened decades ago.
“Let’s stop playing this game of, ‘oh, this was a long time ago,’” Koenig said. One of the priests on the list, Stephen Pohl, worked at a Catholic elementary school in Louisville and was convicted of possessing child pornography in 2016.
Kurtz said the Louisville archdiocese felt compelled to have a transparent reporting of accused priests in the wake a Pennsylvania state grand jury investigation that identified nearly 300 “predator priests” going back seven decades.
Many of the priests named in the report were part of a 2003 lawsuit against the Louisville archdiocese that ended with a $25 million settlement for 243 victims. Mark Miller, a former U.S. Attorney and state prosecutor in Louisville, compiled the report over three months.
An Associated Press report last month said Roman Catholic dioceses across the U.S. have released the names of more than 1,000 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children that was spurred by the Pennsylvania investigation.