N Carolina diocese publishes list of credibly accused clergy

December 30, 2019 - 3:27 pm

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A Catholic diocese in North Carolina on Monday published a list of 14 clergy who it says have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse in the nearly 50 years since the diocese was established.

The Diocese of Charlotte also listed six clergy members who served the area before the diocese was formed in 1972, and 23 clergy members from the diocese who were accused of misconduct while working for the church in other places.

“To all who have been victimized by Catholic clergy, I apologize on behalf of the diocese and express to you personally my heartfelt sorrow for the physical, emotional and spiritual pain you have suffered,” the Rev. Peter Jugis wrote on the diocese's website.

“Regrettably, it is clear in our history that the Catholic Church — including this diocese — did not fully understand the pathology of child sexual abuse or respond to allegations as aggressively as it could have, as we do today," wrote Jugis, who is bishop of the diocese.

Of the 14, nine are dead, according to the diocese's list. Of the remaining five, two were convicted, the diocese said. The others were removed, dismissed or left the ministry.

A leader of the Charlotte affiliate of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests said the diocese should have released the list long ago, when news broke of clergy abuse in Boston.

“I'm not going to give them a gold star for doing what they should have done 18 years ago," said David Fortwengler of Gaffney, South Carolina. “But a list is better than no list.”

The Charlotte Diocese serves more than 400,000 Catholics in 46 counties in western North Carolina. It defines a credible allegation as “one that has the semblance of truth; one supported by information worthy of belief. It is not a finding of guilt.”

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Follow Martha Waggoner on Twitter at http://twitter.com/mjwaggonernc.

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