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Church scandal notebook

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published April 4, 2002


Egan lists priests, but dispute might continue

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Church scandal notebook
NEW YORK -- Cardinal Edward Egan, head of the New York Archdiocese, announced Wednesday that he has given the Manhattan district attorney a list of priests who have been accused of sexual misconduct with minors.

The action appeared to end a standoff between church and state over the controversy of how to handle priests accused of child molestation.

However, at the end of the day, the archdiocese released another statement that could mean more disputes ahead.

Egan's agreement to turn over documents to the district attorney turns out to apply only to past allegations. In future incidents, the later statement indicates, the church will handle accusations on its own, as before.

Catholic official hints at Vatican intervention

The president of the U.S. Roman Catholic bishops' conference said Wednesday that molestation scandals involving priests will end only when church leaders take definitive steps to restore parishioners' trust.

Bishop Wilton Gregory, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, gave few specifics, but left the door open to asking the Vatican to approve a binding sex abuse policy for American clergy.

If the bishops wanted to impose rules for handling sex abuse cases that would be binding in all U.S. dioceses, they would need the Vatican's approval.

LOS ANGELES CARDINAL SPEAKS: Cardinal Roger Mahony compared the Roman Catholic church's sex abuse scandal to a cancer and said in an interview published Wednesday that police and victims asked him not to disclose details about priests dismissed from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

Mahony, who publicly apologized to abuse victims last week, told the Los Angeles Times that the church will not be able to move forward until the "last injurious cell" is removed. A police investigation is under way in response to a recent Los Angeles Times report that Mahony had removed six to 12 priests accused of sexual abuse.

Archdiocese reveals sex abuse claims, payments

ATLANTA -- The Archdiocese of Atlanta has responded to six claims in the past 13 years accusing priests of sexually abusing boys, with some of the abuse complaints going back to the 1960s, a lawyer for the archdiocese said Wednesday.

The church paid a total of $31,250 to settle four of the claims, said David Brown, who has represented the archdiocese in such cases since 1989. Some victims also were paid by the church's insurance companies.

Several of the Atlanta cases had never been made public. The cases date to 1989, when, Brown said, he began representing the archdiocese on "all such claims."

Polish priest: Church slow to act on complaints

WARSAW, Poland -- Roman Catholic priests had for years sought the intervention of the Vatican and Polish church officials over charges of sexual misconduct against an archbishop who resigned last week, a priest said in a magazine interview released Wednesday.

Priests and lay Catholics first expressed concern to bishops in the diocese about the Archbishop of Poznan, Juliusz Paetz, in late 1999, but church officials in Poznan sided with their superior, the Rev. Tomasz Weclawski told the Catholic weekly Tygodnik Powszechny.

Weclawski, a 50-year-old theologian at Poznan University, said he took a letter on the case to the Vatican in 2000 but officials there were slow to react.

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