Bishop Sis: No Active Catholic Clergy Here Have Credibly Been Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors
SAN ANGELO, TX — In what church officials described as the spirit of transparency and accountability, for the care of souls, and to assist survivors of child sexual abuse, the Diocese of San Angelo today fulfilled our promise to the faithful of West Texas to release the names of all clergy who have had a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor during their time serving the diocese.
"There is no one currently serving in ministry in the Diocese of San Angelo for whom we have received even one credible allegation of sexual abuse against a minor, no matter how far in the past. By far, the majority of our priests and deacons have served with honor, dignity, and virtue. While trust has been compromised by the serious misconduct of a few, I publicly affirm the goodness and the fidelity of the many," said Bishop Michael Sis in a statement.
The Diocese of San Angelo was created in 1961. From its foundation until today, there have been a total of 445 priests and 147 permanent deacons who have served in this diocese.
Of those 592 clerics who served in this diocese since 1961, 13 have had credible allegations of sexual abuse of minors. Of these:
- 4 were priests of the Diocese of San Angelo;
- 8 were priests from other dioceses or religious orders ministering in the diocese;
- 1 was a permanent deacon.
Of the list of 13 Sis published, nine are deceased. One of the nine died in prison. All were removed from the ministry or service to the Catholic Church. The list with names is available on the diocesan website here.
Civil law requires that suspicions of child abuse be reported to civil authorities. The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services provides two options for doing so: a secure website; and a telephone hotline, 1-800-252-5400. The diocese said it continues to encourage anyone who has been sexually abused by church personnel to report it to public law enforcement authorities and to our Diocesan Victim Assistance Coordinator, Lori Hines, by phone at 325-374-7609 or email at [email protected].
Sis asked for prayers for the healing of all victims of the sin of sexual abuse.
Bishop Sis’ full statement and the list of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor have been made available to the faithful of the diocese via the diocesan website, https://www.sanangelodiocese.org.
The sin of sexual abuse is an offense before God that causes emotional, spiritual, and physical trauma to the victim. In a spirit of transparency and accountability, for the care of souls, and to assist survivors of child sexual abuse, we have chosen to disclose to our people a list of all priests, deacons, and religious who have had a credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor while serving in our diocese.
The decision to release this list was reached in order to further live up to our commitment to provide a safe environment for young people in all church activities within the Diocese of San Angelo. We know that the scourge of sexual abuse within the Church has caused pain, mistrust, and feelings of betrayal. We pledge to remain resolute in protecting the most vulnerable among us by continuing to remove offenders from ministry whenever we become aware of credible allegations.
By far, the majority of our priests and deacons have served with honor, dignity, and virtue. While trust has been compromised by the serious misconduct of a few, I publicly affirm the goodness and the fidelity of the many.
On behalf of the entire Church, I express my deep sorrow and repentance for any sins and harm that has been caused by any form of abuse by the Church’s ministers. I also apologize to all people for whom this scandal has led to disillusionment, discouragement or desolation, even if they have not had direct experience of the abuse.
I pledge my personal acts of prayer and fasting in response to the sins that have been committed by ministers of the Church, and I am very grateful to anyone who offers prayers and sacrifices for healing and reparation. To all victims and your families, I am deeply sorry for the pain, betrayal, and suffering you have experienced.
I make this report praying that those who are suffering from sexual abuse by a minister of the Church will be able to hear this as a sincere apology. Reading this report will possibly be painful. Those who choose to read this report after being sexually abused by a minister of the Church may find wounds opened and need additional counseling or therapeutic support. We want to help you through our Victim Assistance Coordinator.
Our Church and our entire society are currently going through a time of necessary purification and conversion for the sin of sexual abuse and the way it has been handled by those in authority. May God grant us wisdom, fortitude, vigilance, and perseverance to attain the highest standards of behavior in all our churches, schools, and institutions.
The Roman Catholic Diocese of San Angelo serves the faithful in 29 West Texas counties under the leadership of Bishop Michael J. Sis.