October 13, 2005

Background on Sexual Misconduct Issue


Issued by Western Dominican Province

It is important to note that at least two of the sources quoted in various media are believed to be ex-Dominican students who were dismissed from the Dominican Order for good cause and who we believe are now disaffected. These sources would not have had access to most of the details about the seven friars. Therefore, we are releasing this information to provide an accurate picture about this issue in the sincere hope that it will result in greater insight and peace for you, our neighbors.

There are currently six men accused of sexual abuse of minors living in the Western Dominican Province's communities in the Rockridge area. In each case, when we learned of an alleged instance of abuse, we took immediate steps to ensure that no children were in danger, and undertook a thorough investigation to determine whether the allegation was credible. Having completed that investigation, we removed each of the men from public ministry, meaning they do not celebrate Mass publicly, nor do they have any interaction with young people.

The allegations concern events that occurred between 20 and 45 years ago. All of these friars have received or continue to receive counseling by experts in the field; Eugene Merlin of Oakland, California, in particular has worked with the Province in the area of sexual offending since 1991. All are at least 65 years old. All but one lived in the Bay Area prior to being moved to Rockridgethe other lived outside of California. None of the six friars is a serial or "preferential" pedophile. No criminal charges were ever filed with regard to any of these men, although the police were notified in several cases.

Posted by kshaw at October 13, 2005 07:23 PM