Indiana diocese releases names of 18 accused ex-clergy
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The Catholic bishop with a northern Indiana diocese released the names of 17 former priests and one former deacon Tuesday who have been credibly accused of sexual abusing minors.
The list released by Bishop Kevin Rhoades of the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend includes the names of the 18 men and the places where they served, dating back to 1922.
Eight of the men are now dead. The 10 others have been removed from the ministry and two of them are incarcerated. Some of the men on the list faced several abuse allegations and served at numerous locations in the diocese, with their posts changing frequently over the years.
The list does not include where or when the abuse occurred, or specify how many were referred to police or investigated by law enforcement.
The diocese said the list may be updated as additional information is received.
Rhoades, who became Fort Wayne-South Bend bishop in January 2010, has previously said there are no reports or accusations of abuse against any active priests in the diocese.
He announced in August that he would compile and release the priests’ names in response to a grand jury’s findings that more than 300 predator priests had abused more than 1,000 children — and possibly many more — in six Pennsylvania dioceses since the 1940s.
Rhoades, who was the bishop of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, from 2004 to 2009, called the grand jury report’s findings “equally appalling and heartbreaking.”
Rhoades said in August that one survivor of priest abuse had previously asked him to release the names of priests accused of sexual abuse, and had described her alleged abuse at the hands of the Rev. Elden Miller, a former priest at St. Joseph Church and Queen of Peace Church in Mishawaka.
Miller, who died in 2008, was included on the list of names released Tuesday. The diocese said he had been credibly accused by four different victims of sexual abuse.
“It is my hope that by releasing these names, the innocent victims of these horrific and heartbreaking crimes can finally begin the process of healing,” Rhoades said in August.
Rhoades’ handling of sex abuse allegations involving two now-deceased priests is mentioned in the Pennsylvania grand jury report, which accuses senior church officials of systematically covering up complaints. The report detailed Rhoades’ handling of abuse cases faced by two priests while he was the bishop in Harrisburg, and states that he notified his superiors and law enforcement of the accusations.
But the report also cited letters from Rhoades to Vatican officials in which he cautioned against publicizing the priests’ names and actions for fear of provoking “great public scandal” within the diocese.