W.Va. Catholic diocese releases more accused priests’ names
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — West Virginia’s only Roman Catholic diocese has released the names of two more priests who it says have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse in the state.
The priests are accused of committing the abuse while working at the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston. Both are deceased.
One of them, the Rev. Raymond Waldruff, previously was accused of abuse in the Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in the 1960s. Complaints of decades-old abuse were made against him in March in the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston and in April in the Diocese of Owensboro, Kentucky.
Waldruff served at two churches in north-central West Virginia in the 1970s.
The other priest, the Rev. Andrew F. Lukas, was accusing of abusing a minor in the 1960s. The allegation was reported to the diocese in January.
Eight other priests added to the latest list had claims against them in other regions or dioceses but not in West Virginia. None are in active ministry.
The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register first reported on the updated list, which brings to 40 the number of accused priests or deacons who served in West Virginia.
The diocese posted the list on its website last week. The original list was posted in November.
Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston spokesman Tim Bishop said in a statement Tuesday that the updated list shows “the Diocese’s commitment to transparency and accountability.”
West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed a lawsuit in March accusing the diocese and former Bishop Michael Bransfield of knowingly employing pedophiles and failing to conduct adequate background checks on camp and school workers.
Morrisey said in a statement that the diocese quietly updated the original listing without immediately trumpeting its release.
“If the Diocese truly sought closure and healing for victims, it would make good on its obligation to announce updates to its findings so those victimized would feel empowered to seek counseling and know they are not alone,” Morrisey said.
Instead, “the Diocese appears fixated upon its goal of minimizing this scandal with limited publicity about wrongdoing and maximum publicity of its public relations campaign to protect the Church.”