Bishop: Tucson Diocese has fired 10 over sexual misconduct
TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — The Diocese of Tucson has fired 10 employees in the last decade because of sexual misconduct allegations, Roman Catholic Tucson Bishop Edward Weisenburger said.
The diocese also rescinded clearances for 12 unpaid workers in the same period because of sexual misconduct, Weisenburger said Tuesday.
But Weisenburger said he could not elaborate on the details of any cases, the Arizona Daily Star reported .
Weisenburger’s statement outlining the diocese’s procedures to prevent sexual abuse came as a response to a Pennsylvania grand jury report earlier this year revealing child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in six Pennsylvania dioceses.
“Once again, the gut-wrenching Pennsylvania report has reopened painful wounds,” Weisenburger said in his statement. “I accept its data as accurate and am grateful for those who did the critically important work of processing and compiling it.”
He added, however, that he does not see the report as “an accurate snapshot of the Church today,” noting, “Of the 301 (Pennsylvania) perpetrators, only two are from the last 10 years.” The drop in allegations in the last decade mirrors the Tucson diocese’s experience, he wrote.
The Diocese of Tucson was involved in a $14 million settlement in 2002 with 10 men who described clergy abuse in the 1960s through 1980s.
“What happened in the past brought us to this point, and from here, we move forward and will always do it correctly,” Weisenburger said Tuesday.
In the last 10 years, the Diocese of Tucson has rejected 754 requests by individuals to serve in a school or parish due to sexual misconduct, violence, drug use or other issues.
That’s about 2 percent of the total requests to serve in any capacity, Weisenburger said.
In his statement, Weisenburger connected misconduct in the church with the “so-called ‘sexual revolution.’”
“It would be way too simplistic to blame a cultural movement for what individuals have done, but I also think it would be irresponsible to not acknowledge its role,” he said, pointing to a “deterioration of family life” and marriage and an attitude that “sexual actions have no real intrinsic meaning.”
Information from: Arizona Daily Star, http://www.tucson.com