Bishop Malooly spoke out Aug. 21 about the most recent investigation of sexual abuse by clergy and insufficient action by church leaders and said he’s thankful that the diocese has not had any reported cases of inappropriate conduct in more than two decades.
“Here in the Diocese of Wilmington, we have demonstrated a continuing commitment to preventing sexual abuse,” Bishop Malooly said. “We are grateful that the Diocese of Wilmington has not had a reported instance of the sexual abuse of a child by anyone in diocesan or parish ministry in over 25 years. Our policies, procedures, training, and continuing commitment makes our churches and schools safe places for children.”
In April 2002, Wilmington diocese officials met with the Delaware attorney general and disclosed all reports of abuse received by the diocese, according to a statement from the diocese. In August 2002, the 10-member Diocesan Lay Review Board was formed to review allegations of sexual abuse made against priests, deacons or other church employees or volunteers and make recommendations regarding fitness for ministry of those accused. Allegations also are reported to law enforcement as required by Delaware and Maryland laws.
In 2006 the Diocese of Wilmington became one of the few dioceses to release to the public the names of all known diocesan clergy regarding whom there are admitted, corroborated or otherwise substantiated allegations of sexual abuse. For the last 10 years, that list of names has been posted on the diocesan website.
The diocesan safe-environment program, For the Sake of God’s Children, which is overseen by Mr. Michael Connelly, a retired Commander of the Delaware State Police Criminal Investigation Division, has been used as a model for other diocesan programs. Because of this and diocesan leadership’s continued vigilance and commitment to assure the safety of young people, the Diocese of Wilmington has been found to be compliant in all audits including its first in 2004, the statement said.
“I join Pope Francis in his call for us to accompany and pray for survivors, to strengthen safeguarding measures and to end a culture where abuse is covered up,” Bishop Malooly said.