February 09, 2005

Diocese of Denial: Good on DA for investigating church

DALLAS (TX)
The Dallas Morning News

10:35 PM CST on Monday, February 7, 2005

Dallas Catholics no longer have to rely on Bishop Charles Grahmann's shaky word that their priests have clean sex-abuse records. Dallas County District Attorney Bill Hill has opened an investigation of the diocese to see if the bishop is sitting on allegations of clerical sex abuse he's not reported to authorities.

Brooks Egerton reported in yesterday's Dallas Morning News the existence of sworn affidavits from 1994 alleging that Father Bill Richard, who resigned on Sunday from Our Lady of the Lake parish in Rockwall, sexually harassed and intimidated boys at Bishop Lynch High School and St. Mark's parish in Plano. It does not appear at this point that the diocese investigated the accusations, which Father Richard denied nor did the diocese report these accusations to state officials, as the law seems to require.

Moreover, in 2002, Bishop Grahmann said that his people combed clergy personnel records "for any indication of violations of state laws relating to minors" and removed from ministry priests who had them. Somehow, Father Richard got to keep his post. And a 2003 outside audit overlooked him, even as it praised the Dallas diocese's "Safe Environment" program as a national model.

Posted by kshaw at February 9, 2005 08:58 AM