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Update: Columbus Catholic Diocese release priest sex abuse list

Update: A day after the legal council Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus said it was “demonstrably wrong” and “irrelevant” to release a list of the clergy who have been accused of sexually abusing minors, the Diocese released the list.

The list bears 34 names of people either:

  • Clergy incardinated in the Diocese of Columbus against whom a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor within the Diocese was made and investigated while the clergy was living. 
  • Clergy incardinated in the Diocese of Columbus against whom a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor within the Diocese was made after the clergy’s death.
  • Clergy incardinated in the Diocese of Columbus against whom a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor at a location outside the Diocese was made and investigated while the cleric was living.
  • Extern or religious clergy (clergy from other dioceses or religious orders) who served in the Diocese of Columbus who were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors (alleged conduct occurred in the Diocese of Columbus).
  • Extern or religious clergy who served in the Diocese of Columbus that were credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors elsewhere (alleged conduct occurred outside the Diocese of Columbus).

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“I share with the faithful of our diocese sorrow, sadness, and anger over such behavior,” said Columbus Bishop Frederick Campbell, in a letter released with the list. “I apologize to all victims for the abuse suffered, and hope that these disclosures will help bring healing to all victims and their families.”

Note: The Diocese of Columbus defines a “credible allegation” as one which, based upon a review of the available facts and circumstances, is more likely than not to be true.  Factors considered in making this determination included the details provided by the accuser; corroborating evidence; sincerity, circumstances, and reputation of the accuser and the accused; the accused clergy’s history (including any previous difficulties, suspicions or, in the case of previously accused clergy, allegations); and, if applicable, the accused’s admission of wrongdoing.

See the list here: https://columbuscatholic.org/list-of-credibly-accused-clergy.


02/28/2019: In September 2018, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Columbus promised to release a list naming priests who have been accused of sexually abusing children in an effort to “restore the confidence of our faithful in their Church and its clergy.”

Now, the Diocese is refusing.

This Week News reports the Diocesan attorneys called a lawsuit aimed at making the list public “demonstrably wrong” and “irrelevant.”

The suit was filed by Attorney Konrad Kircher, who represents Kevin Heidtman, a former student at St. Charles Preparatory School in Bexley who said the late Monsignor Thomas Bennett, a St. Charles teacher for more than 40 years, molested him in the 2002-03 school year.

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The suit names the diocese, Bishop Frederick Campbell and St. Charles as defendants.

Since Heidtman’s case was filed, Kircher said two other former students have come to him with similar allegations against Bennett, plus two other former students who claim they witnesses Bennet abusing others, reports This Week News.

To report or find resources about sexual abuse by the Roman Catholic Church, contact law enforcement and the diocesan Victims’ Assistance Coordinator at 614-224-2251, or at helpisavailable@columbuscatholic.org, or by filling out a report form at the diocesan website: www.columbuscatholic.org.

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