Diocese of Ft. Wayne-SB respond to SNAP accusations about accused priests

FT. WAYNE, Ind. Activists from a support group for victims abused by clergy members claim the bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend failed to acknowledge 11 priests accused of abuse.

A member of the Survivors Network for those Abused by Priests spoke to NewsCenter 16 on Thursday. Click here to read the original story.

On Friday, the Diocese of Ft. Wayne-South Bend responded with the statement below:

On March 13, 2019 it was inaccurately suggested that the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend List of Priests and Deacons Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors is incomplete because it does not contain the names of several priests that appear on a list released by The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests or SNAP with respect to the Diocese. The names that appear on the list released by SNAP are clerics who were not ordained or incardinated in the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend. The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend List of Priests and Deacons Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors contains the names the priests and deacons against whom credible accusations were received directly by the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend or who were credibly accused elsewhere but who served in a diocesan parish or a diocesan institution. The Diocese's list also sets out details regarding the clerics named including where and when they were assigned to a diocesan parish or a diocesan institution. The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has never directly received accusations against the priests named on the SNAP list released this week nor have any of these named priests (with two exceptions) served in a diocesan parish or institution. (The two exceptions are Cornelius Ryan and Michael Paquet, both of whom are in fact listed on the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend’s List of Priests and Deacons Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors as published on the Diocese’s website.) The Diocese does not have the means to assess reasonably the credibility of an allegation made against a priest or deacon when the allegation is not reported to this diocese or when it concerns incidents alleged to have occurred outside of the Diocese.

Further, it has been alleged that the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend supplemented its list of credibly-accused priests but “Those names are not posted on the list as it appears on the diocese's website.” This is not accurate. In fact, the List of Priests and Deacons Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors published on the Diocese’s website has the additional names.

The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend stands firm in its commitment to investigate any allegation of sexual abuse by a member of the clergy and to listen to and support anyone who has been abused. The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend List of Priests and Deacons Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse of Minors will be supplemented as appropriate based upon any future determinations of credible allegations that are received by the Diocese with respect to the priests or deacons who have served in diocesan parishes or institutions.