February 19, 2005

Audit: 7 allege priest abuse

Register Star

Seven people came to the Rockford Catholic Diocese last year claiming that they had been sexually molested as minors by William Joffe, who was removed from priestly duties in 1993 after serving a year in jail for taking church funds.

The accusers said Joffe molested them in the 1960s, '70s and '80s. The diocese took away his priestly authority after an allegation was brought to church officials in 1993.

Joffe, 74, is living independently out of state, church spokesmen said. He receives no money from the diocese.

The allegations were reported Friday in the second annual Child Protection Audit conducted in dioceses nationwide. Rockford officials said they "passed" the audit, meaning they complied with church policy on dealing with victims of sexual abuse and those who were accused.

"We are gratified but not surprised," Bishop Thomas G. Doran said in a press release. "Protecting children and young people is our priority, and the diocese has been formally addressing the matter since adopting its first policy back in 1987."

Doran was in Washington for a committee meeting Friday of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Posted by kshaw at February 19, 2005 06:24 AM