March 19, 2005

Some say Cincinnati archbishop waited too long to suspend priests

Beacon Journal

Associated Press

CINCINNATI - Now that the Cincinnati Archdiocese has concluded compensating victims of priest sex abuse, parishioners say they see evidence that the archdiocese is taking molestation complaints more seriously and that abuse will no longer go unreported.

Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk suspended three priests last week from active ministry after the compensation panel concluded there was a basis to give money to three victims who said the clergy members abused them as children.

Catholic bookstore owner Suzanne Schneller said she saw the suspensions as evidence Pilarczyk is taking the problem seriously. The archbishop suspended the priests pending Vatican review of whether they should be allowed again to present themselves as clergy.

The $3 million compensation fund was part of the 19-county archdiocese's 2003 plea agreement to end a prosecutor's investigation of whether clergy abuse of children wasn't reported to authorities. The archdiocese pleaded no contest to failing to report crimes and was fined $10,000.

Increased scrutiny of priests makes abuse less likely to go undetected as it did for years, several parishioners said.

"I would find it really difficult to imagine a current situation not being reported," said Schneller, 55.

Posted by kshaw at March 19, 2005 05:52 PM