The following is a media statement from Survivor's Network for those Abused by Priests
Dolan's false claims about false allegations
Also says his fellow bishops have “branded” innocent priests as child molesters
Statement by Peter Isely, SNAP Midwest Director (Milwaukee)
Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York, who is the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has apparently not read a single report or yearly audit which he and his fellow bishops have paid over a million dollars to the John Jay College of Criminal Justice to conduct.
Astonishingly, Dolan, in a recent interview reported by John Allen in the National Catholic Reporter, said that his “perception” is that the majority of allegations against priests for child sexual assault are false. Dolan also said that the number of false allegations appear to be increasing each year. (link to story: http://ncronline.org/news/accountability/campaign-builds-rethinking-zero-tolerance-sex-abuse
According to the yearly reports submitted to the US Catholic Bishops, Dolan could not be further from the facts. Indeed, according to the organization Dolan runs, the vast majority of child sex abuse report against priests are true and always have been.
In the original US bishop’s national study in 2004, only 1.5 percent of all allegations against priests since 1950 were determined to be false. Since then, yearly reports of allegations show that the false and unsubstantiated reports are actually dropping since the 2004 study.
One would think, before Dolan would make such a profoundly alarming claim, that he would first check the facts on his own US Catholic Conference of Bishops website and read the reports that his own organization has been paying for and posting for seven years. (Link to the USCCB 2009 report: http://www.nccbuscc.org/ocyp/reports.shtml. Link to the USCCB 2004 to 2008 reports: http://www.nccbuscc.org/ocyp/reports.shtml).
Dolan has made other interesting claims based upon his confident “perception” of numbers and figures this week. According to news reports, Dolan may have moved tens of millions of dollars before leaving the archdiocese of Milwaukee in an attempt to shield assets from sex abuse cases. Dolan, who apparently convinced the Vatican that he had rescued the Milwaukee archdiocese from bankruptcy was rewarded with an appointment to New York. Within less than 20 months, the Milwaukee archdiocese filed for bankruptcy. So Dolan will likely be forced by the bankruptcy court soon to explain his questionable financial practices. Assuming that he will be under oath, one can only hope Dolan’s “perceptions,” this time, will line up with the facts.
How Dolan shares his “perception” of the world is often entertaining, to be sure. On matters concerning the daily struggles of catholic faith in the modern world, his folksy and nostalgic display of ecclesiastical authority can be amiable and reassuring.
But Dolan is increasingly becoming unedited, uncomfortable, and dangerously misleading. Dolan did not just target victims of clerical abuse in his remarks. Apparently, according to Dolan, American bishops have been removing priests who are innocent. Is Dolan, now that he is in charge of the US Bishops, going to tell us who these nefarious fellow bishops are? Maybe, since Dolan is moving very close to the position held by Rome and the Pope, which is to keep priests, even with proven reports of child sexual abuse in the priesthood, it really doesn’t matter to him.
The Vatican has made Dolan the most powerful Catholic prelate in the United States. Given the weight of his position, he ought to think before he leaps into broadcasting his alleged “perceptions” on matters as serious as the sexual abuse of children. In light of the events in Philadelphia, where the grand jury has just arrested several priests, including the Vicar of Clergy, for child endangerment, law enforcement has shown that they are not afraid to challenge how a bishop “perceives” child sex crimes.
(For a review and summary of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops/John Jay College of Criminal Justice yearly reports on child sex abuse, see http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/data.htm#accused_priests).
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 23 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)