People in the faith community speak out about latest priest abuse allegations

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This month 42 names from the Central and Southern Province have been added to the lists of Catholic priests nationwide that have been credibly accused of sexual abuse. 

People losing faith after yet again after another Catholic group learning of heinous acts on minors or vulnerable adults.  

One devout southern Colorado woman, Theresa Trujillo, believes transparency can repair people’s trust. 

The Jesuits U.S. Central and Southern Province came out with a report of dozens of credible allegations of sexual abuse against priests. 

Dozens of priests were on the list, 13 from Colorado and two from Pueblo. Father Burton J. Fraser & James L. McShane both facing a single allegation from the 1950s. The two served at Mt. Carmel in Pueblo some time in their career and have since passed away.   

A place of peace or one of pain? Catholics are asking themselves a tough question, including Trujillo, who was raised Catholic in Pueblo. 

“It’s rocked my faith to the core,” Trujillo said. “As someone who sits in the pew every Sunday and hears the prayers of intention in mass about this issue its just not enough.”

“I don’t think people look at these reports and say ‘oh that happened so far ago, in the past, that it doesn’t have any barring today’,” said Trujillo. “I think we’ve come to the time where, if the Church wants to regain credibility they have to increase their level of transparency.” 

The Diocese of the Catholic Church in Pueblo says they’ve implemented safe environment programs and take all allegation of sexual abuse seriously. 

Trujillo continues to worship every Sunday, but she knows not everyone is doing the same because she believes some may have suffered under the guise of the sanctuary.  

“I know the Church is not a democratic institution but people are voting with their feet, and people leaving the Church in droves,” Trujillo said. “It’s not just my faith crisis, its a collective faith crisis and I think it needs to be responded to.”  

The Diocese of Pueblo released this statement:

[T]he Society of Jesus Central and Southern Province in St. Louis published a list of Jesuit priests “credibly” accused of child sexual abuse.  According to the release, two of those listed—Father James L. McShane, S.J. and Father Burton Fraser, S.J.—served, among other assignments, at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish in Pueblo.  The release states that each of these priests had a single allegation against them and that neither of these allegations were made until after the priest had died.  Father Burton died in 1971.  Father McShane died in 1993.  The allegations purportedly involved abuse that occurred in the 1950s—over sixty years ago.  As far as the Diocese has been able to determine, it never received any report of sexual misconduct against either of these priests.

The Society of Jesus made clear that these posthumous allegations were neither substantiated nor confirmed.  Its statement said, “[i]nclusion in this list does not imply that the claims are true and correct or that the accused individual has been found guilty of a crime or liable for civil claims. In many instances, the claims were made several years or decades after the alleged events and were not capable of an investigation and determination.”  It continued:  “[m]any claims were received after an accused priest was deceased. In those instances, the accused was unable to defend himself or deny the charges. The Province was unable to undertake a thorough investigation. Deceased individuals are included in this list based upon the fact that an accusation was reported.”

The Diocese of Pueblo takes all allegations of sexual abuse seriously.  It has implemented elaborate safe environment programs to ensure that its ministries are safe for all involved.  The Diocese encourages anyone who has ever been abused by a person working for or serving the Diocese, a parish, as school, or any Church organization to please contact:

Diocesan Director of Human Resources

Joe’l DeYoung

jdeyoung@dioceseofpueblo.org

719-544-9861 x1172

Human Resources Generalist

Nancy Martinez

nmartinez@dioceseofpueblo.org

(719) 544-9861 x1110

Since its founding, Jesuits said the organization has been dedicated to the service of the Catholic faith, but at the Jesuits’ General Congregation 32 in 1975, “the promotion of justice” was declared a central part of the Society’s mission and a concrete response to an unjustly suffering world.

To see Diocese of Pueblo BISHOP STEPHAN BERG’S STATEMENTS ON THE ABUSE CRISIS from Nov. 2018 click here.  

To see last weeks full report as released by the U.S. Jesuit Province click here.  

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