March 09, 2006

Head of bishops' conference, accused of sexual abuse, denies claim

Catholic Explorer

By Catholic News Service

SPOKANE, Wash. (CNS) -- Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, has denied a woman's claim that he sexually abused her more than 40 years ago when she was a minor.

Diocesan attorney Greg Arpin said in a March 8 statement, "Bishop Skylstad categorically denies the accusation."

"I have kept the promise of celibacy that I made when I was ordained a deacon 47 years ago," Bishop Skylstad said in the statement. "I hope that the Spokane community will join me in praying for all those who have come forward to report sexual abuse. Please pray for me as well."

The statement said that the diocesan sexual abuse review board and Archbishop Pietro Sambi, papal nuncio to the United States, have been advised of the accusation.

News of the claim was reported by media outlets March 8, but the news stories said it was filed last December as part of the diocese's bankruptcy process.

Posted by kshaw at March 9, 2006 11:54 AM