DIOCESE OF GRAND RAPIDS MI
Numbers have been released from the dioceses of Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo in western Michigan, the Diocese of Marquette in and the Upper Peninsula and the Archdiocese of Detroit in the southeastern part of the state.
Catholic churches in Allegan County are part of the Kalamazoo Diocese. Those in Ottawa County are in the Grand Rapids Diocese.
The reports from individual dioceses have trickled out ahead of a national report on sexual abuse of minors commissioned by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to be released Feb. 27.
A total of 89 priests from the four dioceses have faced credible accusations of sexual misconduct since 1950, according to the reports released since the beginning of the year.
The Lansing and Saginaw dioceses are expected to release their reports to the public prior the national report, but the Gaylord Diocese and the Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle are waiting for the national disclosure. An eparchy is a geographic district for Catholics who accept the authority of the pope, but follow different rituals.
The amount of detail in the reports already released varied by diocese; some did not say how many minors were abused, others didn't say how much money was paid out to victims.
Those details, however, should be available in the national report.
Bishop James A. Murray of the Diocese of Kalamazoo apologized to victims in a letter published in the February edition of The Good News, the diocesan newspaper.
"I am deeply sorry for, and ashamed of, what was done to you," he said. "While no human can see perfectly into the psyche of another, I can only assure you that no priest, religious, volunteer or employee known to have committed sexual abuse has been allowed to continue in public ministry."
The Diocese of Kalamazoo, with 46 parishes serving 118,452 registered Catholics, is one of the newer dioceses in Michigan. Numbers released this week show two priests with "credible" accusations against them since the diocese's creation in 1971. Murray's letter said the diocese had not paid any legal damages, but had spent $5,000 on counseling assistance for families.
The Diocese of Marquette, with 74 parishes serving 69,500 registered Catholics, in January reported that 16 priests out of 534 serving the parish had credible allegations made against them by 34 victims since 1950.
The Diocese of Grand Rapids, consisting of 90 parishes and 162,670 registered Catholics, reported eight priests abusing 35 victims since 1950. One priest abused 14 minors and another abused nine, according to numbers released in January.
Payouts from the latter two were not available.
The Archdiocese of Detroit, which disclosed its numbers Feb. 5, had accusations leveled against 63 of the archdiocese's priests and deacons since 1950. Cardinal Adam Maida has said the archdiocese paid nearly $1.38 million in settlements and counseling to 116 victims.
Victims of priest abuse, represented by the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, have looked askance at these reports.
For one thing, they don't name the priests, and for another, they rely entirely on the willingness of bishops to disclose the abuses -- the very thing that put the Catholic Church in the situation of paying out millions in damages from victim lawsuits.
Most dioceses already have implemented training programs and new abuse reporting methods to help head-off further problems.
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