Both organizations have wondered for a very long time when there would be an admission by Church authorities that files and documents regarding clergy sexual abuse were mishandled, destroyed, or never created. Although Cardinal Marx referenced the practice in Catholic dioceses in Germany, it is the opinion of Catholic Whistleblowers and Road to Recovery, Inc. that the same practice was rampant in the United States and most likely in all countries. The following are examples of document destruction and possible document destruction in American dioceses and religious orders.
In November, 2010, Rev. John F. Doerfler, currently the Bishop of Marquette, Michigan, was the Chancellor of the Diocese of Green Bay, Wisconsin, when he admitted in a sworn deposition that the Green Bay Diocese destroyed clergy records beginning in 2007. The case for which he was deposed involved a Las Vegas, Nevada, lawsuit involving a Green Bay diocesan priest who was accused of sexual abuse of two minor males.
The recently-deceased Bishop of Paterson, New Jersey, Frank J. Rodimer, stated publicly and on the record that he destroyed thousands of pages of files from secret archives. It is believed that many of the destroyed files contained information about clergy sexual abuse.
In the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts, where the former Bishop, Thomas L. Dupre, was credibly accused of sexually abusing minor boys, it was discovered that when Thomas L. Dupre was Chancellor of the Diocese of Springfield, MA, he destroyed records of clergy sexual abuse. A whistleblower priest from the Springfield diocese who conflicted with Bishop Dupre on numerous occasions, reported that Bishop Dupre had destroyed files regarding clergy sexual abuse in the Springfield diocese.
Former Irish Christian Brother and whistleblower, Robert M. Hoatson, was told in approximately 1985 that a newly-appointed Province leader “cleaned out” the personnel files of the Eastern American Province of the Congregation of Christian Brothers. Some of the information that was destroyed allegedly concerned sexual abuse by Irish Christian Brothers.
Recently, the five Jesuit (Society of Jesus) Provinces of the United States released the names of their members against whom, since the 1950s, there were credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors or vulnerable adults. In total, according to the Jesuits’ self-reporting, 1.9 percent of Jesuits were credibly accused of sexual abuse. This total is remarkably low, compared to the 4 percent provided by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops regarding all priests in the United States during a comparable time period. Could the Jesuit percentage be low because of missing or destroyed files and documents?
Thus, Catholic Whistleblowers and Road to Recovery, Inc. call upon federal and state authorities to investigate the handling of clergy sexual abuse allegations that have been made against clergymen in the Catholic dioceses and religious orders operating within their jurisdictions.
Catholic Whistleblowers and Road to Recovery, Inc. Members:
Rev. James E. Connell, J.C.D., Milwaukee, WI – 414-940-8054 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert M. Hoatson, Ph.D., West Orange, NJ – 862-368-2800 – email@example.com
Rev. John P. Bambrick, Jackson, NJ
Sr. Sally Butler, OP, Brooklyn, NY
Rev. Patrick W. Collins, Ph.D., Douglas, MI
Rev. Thomas P. Doyle, OP, J.C.D., Vienna, VA
Msgr. Kenneth E. Lasch, J.C.D., Pompton Plains, NJ
Rev. Ronald D. Lemmert, Peekskill, NY
Helen Rainforth, Lincoln, IL
Sr. Claire Smith, OSU, Bronx, NY
Rev. Bruce Teague, Boston, MA