Parish formerly involved in sex scandal?


I just moved and was planning on attending mass at a nearby church this Sunday. I recently learned that both of the parishes nearest to me have ties to sex scandals. Within the past few years, the pastors of both have been removed.

Is it normal for me to feel antsy about attending mass in such a place? The accused priests are no longer there, of course, but the priests were there several years before anything was done. What if something is still being covered up today? I don’t know how to belong to a parish where I can’t even trust the pastor.

I don’t know whether I should attend mass at another church or go to this one and feel uncomfortable.


You said the priests involved in the matter were removed; therefore there is no reason to presume that the pastors there now have anything to do with it, and no reason not to trust them.

Your feelings are just that - feelings, There is a time to be aware of our feelings, as they may be telling us something; such as when we meet someone and they make us uncomfortable. However, there are also times where feelings have nothing to do with the reality in front of us. This seems to be one of those times.

As to trusting the parish - why would you think that someone else was responsible? Have you been given facts which would indicate that others in the parish were abusing the child(or children)? Is there any information that indicates that anyone there covered up anything? If not, then there is no reason to presume that anyone had anything to do with hiding facts.


The issue has to do with the fact that the priests were there for a number of years and no one found out and/or no one did anything. Obviously this was not monitored well.

Which makes me kind of skeptical that if the current pastor was up to anything, anybody would know/do anything.


It’s not very nice, this behavior. That’s all I’ll say.

I’ve seen the behavior of parents in a local Parish when something from many decades before came out - not yet proven true, just a couple of accusations. It was bad. They forced the diocese to remove the priest even after he passed a polygraph. Others even spoke badly about the Parish.


kind of like saying wooooooo i am not going to ever go to this hospital in town even though i need very serious life threatening treatment, because there use to be a doctor who was commiting malpractice and was in turn found guilty and put in prision, but there is a new doctor there now, but yeahhh im just not comfortable with that hospital because of that one doctor.


It sounds like the problem was taken care of. IF others were involved, I would imagine that they would have gotten in trouble when the other priest did.
I think you are making a mountain out of a molehill. It would be different if the person who did the abuse was still there. :shrug:


We are normally outraged when “the world” has no problem saying the Catholic Church is full of pedophiles.

Aren’t you doing the same thing towards this parish? Ready to “condemn” them because of the actions of a few, who are not even there?

As another poster, you are making a mountain out of a molehill


I think you don’t really understand how easy it is for a pedophile to go under the radar and abuse his/her victims. Its not uncommon for the abuse to happen in families for years and years and years without anyone having a clue that its happening. Even more so in a group setting such as a parish or school.

As for the monitoring, I would bet the parish AND the Diocese has taken all the steps necessary to prevent this kind of abuse from happening again. If you are unsure, perhaps you can call the Diocese and see how they have handled the scandal and what they have done after the fact. Take one of the workshops that most parishes are required to have to educate their workers and volunteers on sexual abuse. Be pro-active.

I would also give more understanding to the new pastor that probably doesn’t have it easy with people such as yourself that are thinking the way you are. If you don’t have much knowledge of sexual abuse and how it happens, its natural to feel the way you do. But educate yourself more about the subject and what the Diocese is doing and you will realize your thoughts have no basis.


Find another parish if you feel uncomfortable there. I would perhaps talk to the pastor first, but if you feel so disquieted, then the extra drive might be worth it.


If your neighbor next door is found to be a drug dealer and no on noticed it (because it was not monitored properly), are you going to be suspicious that the neighbor across the street is a drug dealer?

You seem to think that there is a very high risk that priests are sexual abusers. The statistics on priest abuse is that about 3% have abused (and with the reporting of abuse going back to the 1980’s, the great majority if not the vast majority have been flushed out). The great majority of the abuse was the period between the 1960’s and the 1980’s, and a good number of the priests accused of abuse are dead.

The abuse rate in families (parent/child; older child/younger child and relative/child) is esitmated about 10% and the discovery rate (or the flush out rate, if you will) is way lower. It is estimated that the rate of sexual abuse by public school teachers is far higher than priests; a 2004 US Dept. of Education report put the numbers at about 9.4% of students bdeing subject to abuse.

Your suspicion of the priest replacing the one who was removed seems to have no basis in any factual context. If you want to continue down the path your seem to be on, there is no reason to not suspect the next parish of not monitoring properly and the next priest… You can see where this goes. And it does not go anywhere healthy.


An update on this. So I have been attending the parish. I noticed today that the accused priest is listed on the front page of the bulletin as “Pastor Emeritus” with the list of the church’s priests. I’m a little confused about this, since I thought he’d been removed.

I did some googling, and in 2011 the archdiocese suspended him. He wasn’t charged due to the statute of limitations.

Do you think he would be allowed to actively serve in the parish, then? He hasn’t presided over any of the masses I’ve attended yet, but I’m curious about where he is/what he’s doing.

Thoughts? I haven’t had the guts to ask anyone about it yet.


His name is nowhere to be found on the parish website. But I would think that this week’s bulletin in the more updated one, right?


Update #2

Upon further googling, it looks like they quietly accepted him back into the parish because the archdiocese cleared him because of a lack of evidence. I’m not sure exactly what his role is. I find this incredible troubling though.


You find it troubling that he was cleared when there wasn’t evidence against him? Do you know of evidence that the archdiocese overlooked? Surely you don’t want someone kicked out over an unsubstantiated allegation.


I guess you’re right. The years of cover ups, throughout the nation, make me kind of skeptical of archdiocese investigations, I guess. It’s a touchy subject that invokes fear.

A lot of other people went through this set of emotions a few years ago, I guess. At that time I wasn’t actively practicing my faith and felt kind of disconnected from all the investigations. Now that there is an previously accused priest at my new church, I think I’m just going through those emotions/confusion for the first time.


[quote="lllj, post:13, topic:326569"]
Update #2

Upon further googling, it looks like they quietly accepted him back into the parish because the archdiocese cleared him because of a lack of evidence. I'm not sure exactly what his role is. I find this incredible troubling though.


If you were accused of something, then proven innocent, would you want people to think less of you? Remember, you are innocent until proven guilty.


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