February 09, 2006

Bishop Skylstad takes right steps on abuse issue

WASHINGTON
Yakima Herald

Bishop William Skylstad has shown not only courage but needed leadership in settling the long-festering issue of sexual abuse by priests at least in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane.

The Associated Press reported last week that Skylstad, a former bishop of Yakima and head of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, has offered to settle with 75 victims for $45.7 million. The deal, if approved by U.S. Bankruptcy Court and victims, would also require the bishop to go to each parish where abuse occurred to identify the perpetrator. Individuals who were abused would be given the opportunity to address parishes. And the diocesan newspaper would devote space to victims to write about their experiences.

The settlement does not cover at least 15 other people who have filed claims of abuse against the diocese and any others who file between now and the March 10 cutoff date for claims, according to the AP report.

Closer to home, we note that the Diocese of Yakima is already dealing with similar issues. The last report from local church officials was that the diocese had settled individually with 14 people whose allegations of abuse dated to 1950. The names of four clerics accused of abuse were also released. One case is still pending.

Posted by kshaw at February 9, 2006 07:22 AM