The Diocese of Owensboro recently compiled statistics regarding sexual abuse allegations against priests of the diocese and regarding individuals who have come forward and identified themselves as victims of child sexual abuse.
“In light of everything taking place nationally in the Catholic Church, I would like to share some numbers from our diocese, thereby accounting for those who have caused harm,” said the Most Reverend William F. Medley. “It saddens and angers me that we have numbers to report, but unfortunately humanity fails as sin takes root in hearts.”
The diocese reports that since 1937, the year the diocese was founded, there have been a total of 366 priests who have served in the diocese in some capacity. Out of these 366 priests, the diocese has received a total of 66 allegations by 62 individuals against 27 priests. Eleven of these 27 priests were deceased at the time of the allegation.
“One victim is one too many,” said Bishop Medley. “We hope that by releasing this information, our efforts will be two-fold: one, to encourage other victims of child sexual abuse by someone acting in the name of the Church to step forward; and two, to begin the healing process for those impacted by this deviation of morals and character by the offending priests.”
Since 2002, when the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People was established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), the Diocese of Owensboro has conducted more than 27,000 background checks, trained more than 84,000 children and youth in abuse prevention, and spent more than one million dollars on both the background checks and training.
The diocese has only received four allegations of incidents that have occurred after 2002. Bishop Medley believes this number shows the Charter has made gains towards protecting children and youth.
“It tells me that great strides were made in 2002, but now, additional measures need to take place, especially in terms of holding our bishops accountable,” Bishop Medley remarked.
Since 1968, when the diocese began its partnership with Catholic Mutual Insurance, the diocese has paid more than $620,000 in assistance and settlements to victims of child sexual abuse. More than $285,000 has been spent for counseling to victims.
“The Diocese of Owensboro stands ready to offer assistance to victims to find healing and peace, no matter how long ago that abuse may have taken place,” said Bishop Medley. “I invite all people to join me in prayer for anyone wounded and hurting. In our faith we do believe that Jesus Christ is a healer to those who have been harmed.”
To report suspected abuse, call the Kentucky Child Protection Hot Line at 1-877-KYSAFE1 or 1-877-597-2331 (toll free) or contact your local Commonwealth Attorney.
To report abuse to the diocese, current or past, by anyone acting in the name of the Church, please call 270-852-8380 and speak with our Pastoral Assistance Coordinator.
You may also visit the diocese’s Office of Safe Environment for more information: owensborodiocese.org/safe/.
You are also invited to join Bishop Medley, and a few members of the Diocesan Review Board, for an opportunity to share your concerns and thoughts regarding the recent clergy abuse scandals at listening sessions to be held around the diocese in the upcoming months. Visit owensborodiocese.org/listening-sessions for dates and locations.