3 Jul 2008

Secret Documents Released in Clergy Sex Assault Suits

MyFoxColorado - July 2, 2008

by Tammy Vigil | Reporter

DENVER (MyFOXColorado.com) - For the first time, we're seeing secret Denver Archdiocese documents connected to the settlement of several sexual abuse cases.

On Tuesday, the Catholic church paid just over 5.5 million dollars to settle 18 cases. Part of the settlement was the release of Father Robert White's file to his victims. They, in turn, released it to the media.

The file is 153 pages long. In it, is page after page of accusations that stretched more than 20 years. The first complaint came before White was even ordained. A boy tells a nun who slammed his head against the blackboard--telling him never to speak of the abuse again.

In one document, White told an unidentified Archdiocese official about trying to overcome his sinful desire. It recounted an event in which a boy was in his car. The official wrote, "With boy in car he has urge to put hand on thigh, when alone with some boy overwhelming curiosity over comes him, not very often, sometimes catches himself and does not complete act..."

He had even been told repeatedly not to be alone with any boy, to avoid acting on his passion.

Yet, year after year of accusations, the church only moved him from parish to parish, serving in nearly a dozen before he retired in 1993.

One document written by an unidentified Archdiocese officials says, "Because of "boy troubles", I felt it best to get Father Robert White out of Colorado Springs immediately..."

Another document read: "...Father....could not work again as a priest in the city of Denver because of the wide knowledge of his offenses..."

All the while, church officials discussed the "possibility of cure for such a tendency...And the benefits to be gained from psychiatric help."

Today, archdiocesan leadership said it "can't and doesn't justify the wrongful behavior of Robert White. Nor do current archdiocesan leaders understand why some decisions by past leadership were made that resulted in the painful experiences of some individuals and their families.

For 20 years, the archdiocese has sought to better understand the nature of sexual abuse, how to treat it and how to prevent it," read a statement by the Archdiocese.

The Archdiocese says today's policies are more rigorous. It does not tolerate sexual misconduct by any member of its clergy. Any allegation of sexual abuse of a minor is reported to law enforcement and the accused is promptly removed from ministry.

Since 2005, the church has settled 42 claims. It has just two claims remaining.

To read all of the documents go to:

http://www.myfoxcolorado.com/myfox/pages/News/Detail?contentId=6901530&version=5&locale=EN-US&layoutCode=TSTY&pageId=3.2.1

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