On Wednesday, Colorado’s Attorney General released an in-depth report which alleged that 43 priests in the state’s three dioceses had sexually abused at least 166 children since 1950.
The 263-page report, which can be read in its entirety below, was compiled by a third-party investigator as a result of a seven-month probe that was ordered by Colorado’s former U.S. attorney, Bob Troyer.
The Colorado Sun reported that the investigation was conducted with the cooperation of the Denver, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo dioceses. A private, anonymous donor reportedly funded the investigation.
The report identifies five priests who are suspected of committing the majority of the abuse. One of them, Reverend Leonard Abercrombie, allegedly abused at least 18 boys from 1946 to 1972. Another, Reverend, Harold Robert White, allegedly abused at least 63 children in six parishes from 1960 to 1981.
The document also alleged that in the Denver archdiocese alone, three priests—including Abercrombie and White—were responsible for abusing at least 89 children.
The review concluded that it took an average of 20 years to stop an abusive priest once an abuse allegation was made. It also stated that more than half of the child victims were abused after the diocese was alerted to an abusive priest.
The report went on to say that there were 100 instances in which the Catholic church could have reported the sexual abuse to police but they did so fewer than 10 times.
While the report did not identify any credible sexual abuse allegations involving priests who are currently in ministry, it also did not verify the absence of allegations.
Archbishop Samuel Aquila refused to comment on the findings to reporters but addressed it in an eight-minute video in which he promises to implement the suggestions offered in the report. One of the recommendations offered in the report is that the church use outside experts to investigate future abuse claims.
He said, “I am truly sorry for the hurt that this abuse has caused.”
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