January 24, 2005

Priests face judgment



January 24, 2005

The Vatican has defrocked eight Long Island priests accused of sexually abusing minors, ordered three priests to face church trials and cleared two others, Bishop William Murphy discloses in a report on the abuse crisis to be published later this week.

Three years after the scandal broke in Boston and reverberated in dioceses across the nation, Catholics here will be given a tally on the status of clerics who have been accused.

In a three-page letter, Murphy said 23 priests had credible abuse allegations made against them. The accusations against nine of the priests were disposed of by the Diocese of Rockville Centre, while the cases against 14 others were sent to the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for review.

"Of those 14, two were found to have the allegations sufficiently unsubstantiated so that I am able to return them to ministry. For three of the priests, the Diocese has been instructed to have a canonical process or trial," Murphy writes. Murphy also disclosed in his update that the Vatican dismissed eight of the clerics from the priesthood.

On Friday, diocese officials declined to name any of the priests referred to in the letter. However, the diocese has previously identified Michael Hands and Andrew Millar, two priests whose arrests and convictions in New York State courts were well publicized. They both agreed to be laicized, which means they have been formally removed from the priesthood.

Posted by kshaw at January 24, 2005 06:25 AM