PUEBLO, Colo.– An additional 46 people who were sexually abused by Catholic priests have come forward with substantiated claims of abuse since the Colorado Attorney General’s Office released its first report on clergy sex abuse last fall, according to a follow-up report released Tuesday.
“Today is a very very intense day for victims and survivors,” said Jeb Barrett, an advocate and victim/survivor of priest abuse.
Barrett is a leader for SNAP Colorado — which stands for Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests. He was previously abused by a priest in Montana.
Barrett says, “We all need to be more protective of ourselves and of our children and don’t trust a priest simply because they claim to be celibate because we know that the majority of them are not.”
Barrett says he’s happy many have come forward, but knows there’s more out there. He encourages any victims to contact police and also seek a support network, such as SNAP.
Four of the newly identified priests served in the Pueblo Diocese. They are Monsignor Marvin Kapushion, Father Duane Repola, Father Carlos Trujillo, and Father Joseph Walsh.
Five of the newly identified priests served in the Denver Archdiocese. They are Father Kenneth Funk, Father Daniel Kelleher, Father James Moreno, Father Gregory Smith, and Father Charles Woodrich, who is also known as “Father Woody” in the community.
The following is a statement sent to FOX21 from Archbishop Samuel Aquila (Denver), Bishop Michael Sheridan (Colorado Springs), Bishop Stephen Berg (Pueblo), and Bishop Jorge Rodriguez (Denver):
“We hope and pray that this independent review and reparations process over the last two years has provided a measure of justice and healing for the survivors who came forward and shared their stories. We remain heart-broken by the pain they have endured, we again offer our deepest apologies for the past failures of the Church, and we promise that we will always pray for continued healing for them and their families.
We as bishops continue to be willing to meet personally with survivors when they make
the request. Even those these specific programs have concluded, we will continue to work
with and support anyone who comes forward.
We also hope that this process has demonstrated our commitment to continuing to
enhance and strengthen our child-protection policies so that the sins of the past do not
repeat themselves. We are grateful for the work completed by the Special Master to
thoroughly analyze our protocols and make sure they meet the highest of standards for
any youth-serving institution.
We are encouraged that the findings of the supplemental report once again highlight that
our decades of work of proactively addressing this issue have been largely effective, as
evidenced by no known incidents in over 20 years, and over 90 percent of the known
incidents occurring 40 to 60 years ago. And after implementing the special master’s recommendations to further strengthen our policies, we believe Catholics and the general
public can feel confident that the Church is an extremely safe environment for children.
It is also important to note, that all people who participated in the reparations program
had to report their allegation to law enforcement, and their allegations were independently reported by the dioceses as well. Therefore, we are confident that there
are no priests in active ministry with known substantiated allegations against them.
Finally, we believe the comprehensive review of our policies, and the independent and
non-adversarial reparations process, are models that can and should be duplicated to
further address the societal-wide issue of sexual abuse of minors.
We agree with the Attorney General that other youth-serving institutions could considerStatement from the Catholic Bishops of Colorado
using a similar public review and reparations program to address this issue.”
Twenty-three of the children in the report were sexually abused by 13 diocesan priests serving in the Denver Archdiocese. Twenty-three of the children in the report were sexually abused by 12 diocesan priests serving in the Pueblo Diocese.
Here is a graph of the total number of victims by location:
All 46 newly substantiated child sex abuse incidents occurred between 1951 and 1999. Three-quarters of them occurred during the 1960s and 1970s.
Only 1 of those 46 incidents was not reported to law enforcement even though required by Colorado law when the victim first came forward in 2006.
16 of the 46 newly reported victims were abused after the relevant diocese was already on notice that the priest was a child sex abuser.
Here is a graph of the years in which abuse or misconduct was reported to the Diocese: