April 10, 2005

Oakland priory housing sex offender priests draws neighborhood ire

Fresno Bee

By KIM CURTIS, Associated Press Writer

(Updated Sunday, April 10, 2005, 12:05 AM)

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Since the sex abuse scandal first rocked the Roman Catholic church, more than 4,300 priests have been accused of abuse, and many have left the ministry, re-entering society without getting the treatment that can make them less likely to reoffend.

Priests who work in a diocese generally get forced out under the zero-tolerance policy created by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops three years ago in response to public outrage and fear of expensive civil suits.

Dominicans, Jesuits and other religious orders, representing 16,000 of the nation's 45,000 priests, chose another path: giving abusive priests supervised treatment for as long as they stay within their communities.

Both approaches could claim support from Pope John Paul II. He called abuse criminal and said there was no place in the priesthood for abusers of minors, yet also suggested that some priests could "turn away from sin and back to God" if given a second chance.

Posted by kshaw at April 10, 2005 03:33 AM