A report from Vermont’s Roman Catholic Church has revealed “credible and substantiated” allegations of sexual abuse of minors by 40 priests in nearly 70 years.
The report says none of the priests are still working in ministry and many are dead, the Associated Press reports.
“While most of these allegations took place at least a generation ago, the numbers are still staggering,” said Bishop Christopher Coyne, who leads the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which covers the entire state.
All of the allegations except one occurred before 2000, according to the report.
The report came after Coyne commissioned the investigation when the Vermont attorney general’s office began its own investigation of abuse at a now-closed Catholic orphanage in the state.
Coyne said the abuse “has been our family secret” and that it is time for the truth to surface so families can begin to heal.
“Family secrets can be toxic,” Coyne said during a news conference at the diocese’s South Burlington headquarters. “Harmful past experiences, unspoken, unaddressed and known only by a few, fester like neglected wounds.”
The report investigated the records of 52 priests in the state, but the seven-member committee could only substantiate allegations against 40 priests.
Committee member and abuse survivor John Mahoney said Rev. Edward Foster abused him in the early 1970s when he was in the seventh grade. Mahoney, now 65, reached a legal settlement with the church. Foster’s name was among the priests named in the Vermont report.
“One can only hope that this offers some opportunity for healing of individuals, but healing within the church as well,” Mahoney said.
This isn’t the first report to detail the names of priests with allegations of sexual abuse. In July, the Diocese of Manchester released a list of 73 names of priests with a history of sexual abuse of minors.
Photo courtesy: Pexels