|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
||January 4, 2014
|CONTACT: David Strom
Open Season on Priests?
Demands to disclose names of priests NOT credibly accused of abuse go too far
St. Paul, MN—Catholics priests have rights, too, and the Catholic Defense League of Minnesota is pushing back against recent attacks on the Catholic Church.
"It’s been open season on priests, and that isn't right," said David Strom, spokesman for the League.
Accusations of abuse by priests have dominated the news lately, and in some of those cases it appears that genuine wrongdoing has occurred. In those cases, the League believes that justice needs to be served, and victims protected.
Now, Ramsey County Judge John Van de North is being asked to enforce an order that the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis reveal the names of all priests accused of abuse, even in cases where the accusations were found to be not credible. That is a step too far, says the League.
"Requiring the Church to reveal names of priests who have not been credibly accused of abuse is going way too far," said Strom. "In no other profession would a judge require the disclosure of the names of people who have been wrongly accused of a crime, especially such a heinous crime."
The Church has been publicly battered in recent months for its handling of the abuse scandals, and Archbishop Neinstadt has apologized for the Church's mishandling of certain cases.
"If the Church is required to release the names of innocent priests who have been wrongly accused of abuse, then it only makes sense that every business and government agency be required to do the same thing. Perhaps the media should publish every complaint as well. The reason they don't is that a false accusation can ruin lives," said Strom.
The Lawyers Professional Responsibility Board adjudicates accusations against lawyers for professional misconduct in private. Only in cases where misconduct is found are the names of the accused released. Teachers accused of abuse are represented by the union and given due process until the accusations are credibly substantiated.
"Accusations of abuse need to be taken with the utmost seriousness. If the person is guilty, they should be punished; if not, their lives should not be ruined," said Strom. "Forcing the Archdiocese to reveal the names of people not credibly accused helps nobody but the lawyers who benefit from creating a climate hostile to the Church," Strom concluded.
The Catholic Defense League of Minnesota was formed in 1976. It is dedicated to protecting religious and civil rights.