Parishioners with the Omaha Archdiocese are reacting to last week’s release of names of clergy or staff members accused of sexual misconduct or abuse. The Nebraska Attorney General Office requested the information from the Archdiocese following a Grand Jury investigation in Pennsylvania on decades of abuse.
Deacon Tim McNeil says parishioners are relieved the report is now out in the open. He says, “They respected the fact we were so transparent in releasing those names because we didn’t have to release those names. There was a sense of gratitude. A sense of sadness. A sad sense of relief that now the names were put out there it is time to move forward.”
McNeil says when you scan the list, you will see allegations made 50 years ago. Some the previous administration knew of and in some cases the accused person was kept in ministry too long. If you look after 2002, there are only four or five reports of abuse and several were against adults.
McNeil says they took steps years ago to protect members of the church. They have a safe environment – child protection program that they offer that is used in in 41 diocese across the country. Their policy for the past 16 years is that if a cleric or school worker is accused of abuse, they would be taken out of ministry immediately. They also recommend that suspected victims call the police before calling the church.