Published February 26, 2004
The Archdiocese of Atlanta announced the results of a quantitative analysis of the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy from 1950 to 2002. This analysis was performed as part of the John Jay Study undertaken by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Archbishop John F. Donoghue believed it was imperative that the Archdiocese of Atlanta participate in this Study.
“Our involvement in this Study indicates our commitment to make sure the mistakes of the past are never repeated,” said Archbishop Donoghue. “While we cannot erase the past, we must learn from it.”
“Our intent has always been to respond in a Christ-like way in the midst of what we see as tragedy,” Archbishop Donoghue said. “The Church’s first and primary mission is to preach the Gospel and lead all people to an understanding of the message of Jesus. Sexual abuse in any form is totally contrary to that message, and is not acceptable in any situation. When accusations are made, we must locate the truth about them, and administer healing to all involved,” he explained.
During the 52 years surveyed, action was taken regarding 13 clerics serving in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, based on allegations from 25 people. None of the 13 clerics are in active ministry. During these 52 years, approximately $1.5 million was paid to alleged victims of sexual abuse, with the vast majority of this money either paid directly by the insurance companies or eventually recovered by the archdiocese from its insurance companies.
The status of those 13 priests is as follows:
2 were removed and returned to the supervision of the provincial of their respective religious orders.
2 were terminally ill at the time of the allegation, and were incapable of a response; those priests are now deceased.
2 additional clerics are also now deceased.
1 was tried and convicted of child molestation; he served a prison sentence.
2 were removed from the priesthood.
1 is an elderly member of a religious order, under the supervision of the order in a local monastery.
1 is a member of a religious order, who was suspended and not allowed to return to the archdiocese.
1 was permanently suspended from ministry.
The archdiocese recently submitted to an audit by The Gavin Group, a national organization charged with evaluating the progress of Catholic dioceses across the nation in following the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People adopted by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in June, 2002. In January of 2004, The Gavin Group reported that the Archdiocese of Atlanta was in full compliance. In addition to the declaration of full compliance, the audit commends the Atlanta Archdiocese for its “communication policy that reflects a commitment to transparency and openness.”