McKeown in Tennessee Newspapers




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McKeown in Tennessee Newspapers


Paper: Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN)

Title: Area Catholics weigh options to fight abuse

Author: BRIAN LEWIS

Date: July 24, 2002

Section: Main News

Page: 1A


New group says pedophile priests should be namedBy BRIAN LEWIS


Staff Writer


A group of lay Catholics is considering giving the Nashville Diocese an ultimatum: Name all priests who have sexually abused minors or we will.


The prospect of such an ultimatum is one of a number of tentative recommendations that a committee on "healing survivors" made to the new local chapter of the Voice of the Faithful, a lay group that was formed in response to the national and local sex abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.


The recommendation was part of a tentative report that will not be ratified, if at all, until after the group hears from Bishop Edward Kmiec at its next meeting.


Other Catholics around the country are calling for dioceses to release all records related to priests who abused children, said Mike Emerton, a spokesman for the national group.


"What people in general are calling for is a clean slate," Emerton said.


The Diocese of Milwaukee announced last month that it plans to release to the public a list of priests who sexually abused minors. Other dioceses have released lists to civil authorities but not to the public.


Cindy Gause-Vega, one of the leaders of the local chapter, said that the recommendations that various committees made at the group's recent meeting are works in progress.


"They really are ideas that are coming out of the initial committee meetings," said Gause-Vega.


The group does not have a constitution or bylaws and has not decided how recommendations will become resolutions, she said.


"Until we have an opportunity to meet with Bishop Kmiec, we're not ready to go to that step," said Gause-Vega.


Kmiec is open to speaking with the group, said his spokesman, Rick Musacchio.


Musacchio said that the bishop has apologized many times personally and publicly for abuse that happened here. The bishop will not name individual priests because of a diocesan policy not to release private personnel issues, Musacchio said.


He added that diocesan policy also states that anyone who has sexually abused a minor is not fit for ministry, and no one currently works for the diocese who has been credibly accused of sexual abuse. It's also the policy of the diocese to cooperate with any investigations by civil authorities, Musacchio said.


Two Nashville priests have been removed from the ministry because of sexual abuse. Franklin T. Richards and Edward J. McKeown were asked to leave the ministry March 1, 1989. Richards was not prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired. McKeown is serving 25 years in prison without parole for later raping a 12-year-old boy.


In a 1999 pastoral letter, Kmiec wrote to the people of the diocese of Nashville that a third former priest had been investigated, but the district attorney's office "found no evidence of criminal sexual activity."


Although diocesan officials say that no one working for the diocese has sexually abused children, some people said that the diocese has little credibility because of its past actions.


Mike Coode, a Nashville Catholic who works as a warrant officer for the Davidson County Sheriff's Department, said that he doesn't trust Kmiec. Coode said in 1997 he told Kmiec that he had been abused by a Benedictine priest when he was younger, and Coode said he felt that the bishop's response was misleading.


"Bishop Kmiec said that this might have happened in the old days but not now," Coode said. Because of more recent allegations of abuse involving McKeown and Richards, Coode felt that Kmiec was not being completely truthful.


Coode said that the committee that recommended that Kmiec name all priests who have abused children asked for the information not to be vindictive but "to help the healing process and to protect children now."


Author: BRIAN LEWIS

Section: Main News

Page: 1A


Copyright (c) The Tennessean. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.


****************************************************


Paper: Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN)

Title: Priests bound to obey church law if crimes confessed

Author: LAURA FRANK

Date: July 23, 2002

Section: Main News

Page: 2A


By LAURA FRANKStaff Writer


If a priest hears a confession revealing that a child has been sexually abused, Tennessee state law requires that he report the abuse.


But Roman Catholic law says something else. It bans him from alerting authorities - and from taking any other action.


In fact, one canon law expert says, church law would prevent the priest from even trying to remove an abuser from contact with youth.


"Even if they know harm may flow, they cannot compromise the seal of confession,'' said Charles M. Wilson, executive director of The St. Joseph Foundation in San Antonio, Texas, which offers canon law consulting to Catholics nationwide.


Tennessee state law requires anyone who has information that a child may have been sexually abused to tell police or state child protective services.


The law does not exempt clergy, so if a priest was told about child sex abuse during confession, he would be breaking Tennessee law if he did not report the abuse to authorities, District Attorney General Torry Johnson said.


R.J. Mathew says that in 1992, when he was 14, he told his priest that former Nashville priest Edward J. McKeown was sexually abusing him. The priest says he does not recall such a confession, but that if it had happened, he would have been bound to follow church law.


Mathew's parents say Nashville Bishop Edward Kmiec told them that a priest must choose church law over state law.


Diocese spokesman Rick Musacchio said yesterday that Kmiec was not available for comment. But Musacchio provided this statement:


"The seal of the confessional is sacred and absolute, and stems from the long tradition that everyone must be free as a matter of conscience to seek God's forgiveness through the sacrament. A priest would not be able to report any crime that he learns about during the sacrament because the seal is inviolable and it is a church crime to betray any penitent for any reason."


Mathew says that when he made his confession he knew priests were not allowed to reveal what they learned.


"I think subconsciously I was hoping he'd go talk to him (Mc- Keown) and tell him to stop,'' Mathew said.


Wilson said such a scenario also would violate canon law. If someone was to confess a crime to a priest, the priest could make forgiveness conditional upon the person turning himself in to police. But church law would prevent the priest from doing any more, Wilson said.


The penalty for violating the section of Catholic law known as Canon 1388 is immediate excommunication, Wilson said. Only the pope can forgive such a sin, he said, adding: "Priests have been martyred rather than tell what is told in confession.''


PHOTO BY P. CASEY DALEY / STAFF


R.J. Mathew, now 25, says church leaders failed to protect him as a boy from a known pedophile priest, Edward McKeown.


Author: LAURA FRANK

Section: Main News

Page: 2A


Copyright (c) The Tennessean. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.


****************************************************


Paper: Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN)

Title: Church could have done more to stop abuse, victim says

Author: LAURA FRANK

Date: July 23, 2002

Section: Main News

Page: 1A


Pedophile priest pictured with teens at church camp despite orders to avoid childrenBy LAURA FRANK


Staff Writer


A man who was repeatedly raped as a teenager by a former Nashville priest has stepped forward to say that Catholic church leaders didn't do enough to protect him and other victims.


R.J. Mathew, now 25, says he wants the public to know how Edward McKeown was able to continue sexually abusing boys even after church leaders learned that McKeown was a pedophile.


Diocese officials have said they were not responsible for abuse that occurred after McKeown was put on inactive status in 1989 because of his pedophilia. McKeown was warned to stay away from children even before going on inactive status, church records show.


But Mathew and his parents say that as late as 1996 McKeown was allowed to participate in youth activities at St. Ignatius church in Antioch, where he had once lived. And the Mathews have pictures of McKeown mixing with teens at Camp Marymount, a camp run by the Nashville Diocese, in 1993.


Mathew, who attended St. Ignatius, was abused by McKeown from 1990 to 1993, according to statements McKeown gave after his 1999 arrest on charges he raped another boy.


McKeown is in prison on a 1999 conviction in that case.


Rick Musacchio, a spokesman for the Catholic diocese, declined to comment, citing a lawsuit against the church that is under appeal.


Mathew's story is unusual in that he says he first revealed it during confession with another priest.


Mathew said it was just before Easter in 1992 that he sat down to confession at St. Ignatius with the Rev. John Henrick and told his dark secret.


Mathew, who was 14 at the time, said the priest told him to pray about the abuse.


Mathew said that was the last he ever heard from any official of the Nashville Diocese regarding the abuse. McKeown continued to abuse him for a year after he told Henrick about it, Mathew said.


Henrick said he did not remember Mathew's having revealed any abuse to him.


"I am absolutely sure I do not remember that at all,'' Henrick said. And even if Mathew did reveal abuse during confession, church law would prevent him from reporting it to anyone, Henrick said. (See story, below.)


Henrick is still pastor of St. Ignatius, where church leaders sent McKeown to live after he received treatment for pedophilia in 1987. McKeown later told police he sexually abused at least four children from the parish.


Mathew is one of the victims McKeown named to police when he was arrested in 1999. Mathew said he decided to speak publicly now about the abuse in hopes that revealing how a known pedophile was able to continue abusing children might help prevent a similar situation in the future.


"I think he should remember,'' Mathew said of Henrick. "I do recall sitting down during confession and telling him. His facial expression was one of shock."


Henrick said in an interview with The Tennessean that he had not known McKeown was a pedophile. Neither, he said, had he known that McKeown had regular contact with children at the church even after diocese officials reached an agreement with McKeown to end his priestly duties.


"If he did, it certainly was not a whole lot of times,'' Henrick said in the interview.


Bishop Edward Kmiec said in 1999 that youth leaders at St. Ignatius were not told about McKeown's pedophilia. "It was most regrettable," he said. "Some information could have been shared."


Mathew's parents say they were active with the church's youth programs and so was McKeown.


"Every youth meeting we had, the guy would show up," Mathew's father said. "When we left around 1996, he was still involved.


"The very least they could have done is warn the youth group leaders so that someone could have watched him,'' said the father, Dan Mathew. "I hope by talking about this now, it will prevent anything like this from ever happening again. You can't imagine how we feel. We feel like we didn't protect our son.''


Officials from the Nashville Diocese say they first learned in 1986 that McKeown had sexually abused a child. After returning from church-ordered treatment for pedophilia in 1987, where he admitted he had abused multiple children, McKeown was sent to live at the St. Ignatius rectory.


The Rev. Ed Alberts was pastor at St. Ignatius then, and no one from the diocese told him about McKeown's pedophilia, according to excerpts of his sworn testimony, made public in May when a legal brief in a failed lawsuit against the church was unsealed at The Tennessean's request.


Alberts, now at Holy Family Catholic Church in Brentwood, later learned about McKeown but said it was "not my responsibility" to warn Henrick when Henrick replaced him at St. Ignatius, according to the brief. The brief did not make clear how Alberts had learned of it.


One of McKeown's doctors gave diocese officials clear instructions in 1987 to keep McKeown away from children, according to an excerpt of his letter in the legal brief.


However, McKeown was on a 1989 list of priests allowed to hear children's confessions at St. Ignatius, according to the brief. And Mathew remembers that around that time he saw McKeown sitting in an area where priests awaited parishioners who wanted to confess.


McKeown also was allowed to participate in St. Ignatius youth activities, according to excerpts of sworn testimony from Alberts.


The Nashville Diocese officials say they cannot comment on what is contained in the brief because they believe they are bound by a lower court order sealing documents to which the brief refers. The brief, filed by lawyers for two boys suing the church, uses excerpts of those sealed documents to summarize testimony in the case.


The new statements by the Mathews confirm several aspects of testimony summarized in the brief.


The Tennessee Court of Appeals is set to hear an appeal of the $70 million lawsuits Aug. 5. Mathew gave sworn testimony for the case but is not involved in the lawsuit.


McKeown began abusing Mathew when Mathew was a 12-year-old eighth-grader, according to Mathew and McKeown's account.


Mathew said his family so trusted McKeown that they lent him some $16,000 to buy a mobile home, where he lived at one point after leaving the rectory at St. Ignatius. It was there that McKeown gave Mathew and other boys alcohol and played strip poker. When the game was over, some of the neighborhood boys went home. But McKeown persuaded Mathew's parents to allow him to spend the night, his father said. McKeown told police he raped Mathew and that Mathew was his first victim after leaving treatment.


Mathew finally confronted McKeown about the abuse. He says McKeown threatened him to keep silent.


"He told me my parents loaned him money and if I ever told, they were linked to him and he'd take them down with him.''


The abuse finally stopped when Mathew, at 16, could fight off McKeown, Mathew said. Mathew's parents did not learn of the abuse until McKeown admitted it after his 1999 arrest.


As an adolescent, Mathew said, he was frightened and confused by the abuse. Today, a grown man with a family of his own, Mathew says he is sometimes angry that church leaders did not do more to protect him and other boys from a known pedophile. Mathew has publicly identified himself for the first time in hopes that sharing his story will prevent anything like that from happening again.


"It's up to the people in the pews to say, 'You're not going to do this,' " Mathew said. Church leaders "have hurt a lot of people and put a bad name of the faith. People trusted them and they've taken the trust and destroyed it, taken advantage of it and manipulated followers.''-


McKeown time line


Time line developed from Tennessean interviews and court documents filed by both parties in lawsuit against diocese.


? 1970 - Edward McKeown ordained as priest, assigned to Father Ryan High School.


? JULY 1986 - McKeown confesses to abusing a boy in 1973 after victim's mother contacts bishop.


? SEPTEMBER 1986 - Mc- Keown sent to St. Luke Institute in Maryland for treatment. Admits molesting boys on average "once or twice a month" for 14 years. Report sent to Nashville Diocese says McKeown admitted to a "number of sexual contacts.''


? OCTOBER 1986 - McKeown sent to Institute of Living in Hartford, Conn. Tells a psychiatrist that 1973 abuse report is just "tip of an iceberg." Diagnosed as a pedophile.


? JANUARY 1987 - McKeown released from institute. Doctor warns bishop that "McKeown not be placed in a program or be given responsibilities which would place him in frequent or ongoing contact with adolescents."


? 1987 - McKeown moves into rectory at St. Ignatius church, Antioch.


? DECEMBER 1988 - Diocese gives McKeown options of looking for work in another diocese, leave of absence, suspension or laicization, which is official defrocking. McKeown refuses to decide.


? CHRISTMAS 1988 - McKeown gives condom to a 15-year-old boy as Christmas present. Diocese officials say this is final straw.


? JANUARY 1989 - Diocese gives McKeown until end of March to decide how he will leave diocese. Bishop tells McKeown he wants to "spare any kind of embarrassment - I am not imposing any penalty.'' Mc- Keown demands diocese pay him $50,000 when he leaves.


? MAY 1989 - McKeown negotiates payment from diocese that turns out to be $51,500 over about five years. Accepts decree that leaves him technically still a priest but with no formal assignment.


? JULY 1989 - The Rev. John Henrick becomes priest at St. Ignatius. Says he was not told by diocese that McKeown - who was still ushering and teaching children at the church - was a pedophile.


? SUMMER 1990 - McKeown begins molesting R.J. Mathew, whom he met at St. Ignatius. Abuse continues until 1993.


? DECEMBER 1990 - McKeown's therapist tells him diocese has not paid past few months' bills. Therapist says stopping therapy "certainly does not seem wise at this time.''


? JANUARY 1991 - Unpaid therapy bills total more than $2,000. McKeown and doctor suspend appointments.


? 1991-1995 - McKeown molests three more boys he met at St. Ignatius.


? JANUARY 1999 - McKeown arrested.


? JUNE 17, 1999 - McKeown convicted of raping boy known as John Doe 1, and sentenced to 25 years without parole.


? JAN. 19, 2000 - John Does 1 and 2 file lawsuit against diocese and Metro government for failing to protect them.


? JUNE 2000 - Judge Walter Kurtz dismisses lawsuit, saying abuse came too long after McKeown's dismissal to hold church accountable. Appeal pending.


R.J. Mathew's parents took this photo of Edward McKeown during an outing with teenagers at Camp Marymount, which is run by the Catholic Diocese of Nashville. The event took place four years after McKeown was removed from the active priesthood for pedophilia and six years after he was told by the diocese to have no contact with children. McKeown is in the back on the right. There is no evidence that any abuse took place at Camp Marymount.


This photo of Edward McKeown was taken at the same outing as the photo to the left. The timestamp in the lower right corner says "4-24-93."


MCKEOWN


Author: LAURA FRANK

Section: Main News

Page: 1A


Copyright (c) The Tennessean. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.


****************************************************


Paper: Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN)

Title: Church could have done more to stop abuse, victim says

Author: LAURA FRANK

Date: July 23, 2002

Section: Main News

Page: 1A


Pedophile priest pictured with teens at church camp despite orders to avoid childrenBy LAURA FRANK


Staff Writer


A man who was repeatedly raped as a teenager by a former Nashville priest has stepped forward to say that Catholic church leaders didn't do enough to protect him and other victims.


R.J. Mathew, now 25, says he wants the public to know how Edward McKeown was able to continue sexually abusing boys even after church leaders learned that McKeown was a pedophile.


Diocese officials have said they were not responsible for abuse that occurred after McKeown was put on inactive status in 1989 because of his pedophilia. McKeown was warned to stay away from children even before going on inactive status, church records show.


But Mathew and his parents say that as late as 1996 McKeown was allowed to participate in youth activities at St. Ignatius church in Antioch, where he had once lived. And the Mathews have pictures of McKeown mixing with teens at Camp Marymount, a camp run by the Nashville Diocese, in 1993.


Mathew, who attended St. Ignatius, was abused by McKeown from 1990 to 1993, according to statements McKeown gave after his 1999 arrest on charges he raped another boy.


McKeown is in prison on a 1999 conviction in that case.


Rick Musacchio, a spokesman for the Catholic diocese, declined to comment, citing a lawsuit against the church that is under appeal.


Mathew's story is unusual in that he says he first revealed it during confession with another priest.


Mathew said it was just before Easter in 1992 that he sat down to confession at St. Ignatius with the Rev. John Henrick and told his dark secret.


Mathew, who was 14 at the time, said the priest told him to pray about the abuse.


Mathew said that was the last he ever heard from any official of the Nashville Diocese regarding the abuse. McKeown continued to abuse him for a year after he told Henrick about it, Mathew said.


Henrick said he did not remember Mathew's having revealed any abuse to him.


"I am absolutely sure I do not remember that at all,'' Henrick said. And even if Mathew did reveal abuse during confession, church law would prevent him from reporting it to anyone, Henrick said. (See story, below.)


Henrick is still pastor of St. Ignatius, where church leaders sent McKeown to live after he received treatment for pedophilia in 1987. McKeown later told police he sexually abused at least four children from the parish.


Mathew is one of the victims McKeown named to police when he was arrested in 1999. Mathew said he decided to speak publicly now about the abuse in hopes that revealing how a known pedophile was able to continue abusing children might help prevent a similar situation in the future.


"I think he should remember,'' Mathew said of Henrick. "I do recall sitting down during confession and telling him. His facial expression was one of shock."


Henrick said in an interview with The Tennessean that he had not known McKeown was a pedophile. Neither, he said, had he known that McKeown had regular contact with children at the church even after diocese officials reached an agreement with McKeown to end his priestly duties.


"If he did, it certainly was not a whole lot of times,'' Henrick said in the interview.


Bishop Edward Kmiec said in 1999 that youth leaders at St. Ignatius were not told about McKeown's pedophilia. "It was most regrettable," he said. "Some information could have been shared."


Mathew's parents say they were active with the church's youth programs and so was McKeown.


"Every youth meeting we had, the guy would show up," Mathew's father said. "When we left around 1996, he was still involved.


"The very least they could have done is warn the youth group leaders so that someone could have watched him,'' said the father, Dan Mathew. "I hope by talking about this now, it will prevent anything like this from ever happening again. You can't imagine how we feel. We feel like we didn't protect our son.''


Officials from the Nashville Diocese say they first learned in 1986 that McKeown had sexually abused a child. After returning from church-ordered treatment for pedophilia in 1987, where he admitted he had abused multiple children, McKeown was sent to live at the St. Ignatius rectory.


The Rev. Ed Alberts was pastor at St. Ignatius then, and no one from the diocese told him about McKeown's pedophilia, according to excerpts of his sworn testimony, made public in May when a legal brief in a failed lawsuit against the church was unsealed at The Tennessean's request.


Alberts, now at Holy Family Catholic Church in Brentwood, later learned about McKeown but said it was "not my responsibility" to warn Henrick when Henrick replaced him at St. Ignatius, according to the brief. The brief did not make clear how Alberts had learned of it.


One of McKeown's doctors gave diocese officials clear instructions in 1987 to keep McKeown away from children, according to an excerpt of his letter in the legal brief.


However, McKeown was on a 1989 list of priests allowed to hear children's confessions at St. Ignatius, according to the brief. And Mathew remembers that around that time he saw McKeown sitting in an area where priests awaited parishioners who wanted to confess.


McKeown also was allowed to participate in St. Ignatius youth activities, according to excerpts of sworn testimony from Alberts.


The Nashville Diocese officials say they cannot comment on what is contained in the brief because they believe they are bound by a lower court order sealing documents to which the brief refers. The brief, filed by lawyers for two boys suing the church, uses excerpts of those sealed documents to summarize testimony in the case.


The new statements by the Mathews confirm several aspects of testimony summarized in the brief.


The Tennessee Court of Appeals is set to hear an appeal of the $70 million lawsuits Aug. 5. Mathew gave sworn testimony for the case but is not involved in the lawsuit.


McKeown began abusing Mathew when Mathew was a 12-year-old eighth-grader, according to Mathew and McKeown's account.


Mathew said his family so trusted McKeown that they lent him some $16,000 to buy a mobile home, where he lived at one point after leaving the rectory at St. Ignatius. It was there that McKeown gave Mathew and other boys alcohol and played strip poker. When the game was over, some of the neighborhood boys went home. But McKeown persuaded Mathew's parents to allow him to spend the night, his father said. McKeown told police he raped Mathew and that Mathew was his first victim after leaving treatment.


Mathew finally confronted McKeown about the abuse. He says McKeown threatened him to keep silent.


"He told me my parents loaned him money and if I ever told, they were linked to him and he'd take them down with him.''


The abuse finally stopped when Mathew, at 16, could fight off McKeown, Mathew said. Mathew's parents did not learn of the abuse until McKeown admitted it after his 1999 arrest.


As an adolescent, Mathew said, he was frightened and confused by the abuse. Today, a grown man with a family of his own, Mathew says he is sometimes angry that church leaders did not do more to protect him and other boys from a known pedophile. Mathew has publicly identified himself for the first time in hopes that sharing his story will prevent anything like that from happening again.


"It's up to the people in the pews to say, 'You're not going to do this,' " Mathew said. Church leaders "have hurt a lot of people and put a bad name of the faith. People trusted them and they've taken the trust and destroyed it, taken advantage of it and manipulated followers.''-


MCKEOWN


Author: LAURA FRANK

Section: Main News

Page: 1A


Copyright (c) The Tennessean. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.


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Paper: Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN)

Title: Catholic laity group seeks positive change for church

Author: BRIAN LEWIS

Date: July 21, 2002

Section: Local

Page: 2B


By BRIAN LEWISStaff Writer


As 4,000 Catholics from across the nation met in Boston yesterday, the local chapter of the new nationwide group Voice of the Faithful elected officers and planned to meet with Bishop Edward Kmiec about how the diocese handles issues, including that of priests sexually abusing children.


Both groups were created because many lay Catholics are outraged at the way church officials have dealt with abusive priests. The scandal started early this year when court documents acquired by the Boston Globe detailed a pattern by the Boston archdiocese of reassigning such priests. In the following months, reports surfaced from across the country about priests who had abused children and been reassigned by bishops.


The diocese of Nashville was touched by the scandal in previous years two Nashville priests have been removed from the ministry because of sexual abuse. Franklin T. Richards and Edward J. McKeown were asked to leave the ministry March 1, 1989. Richards was not prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired. McKeown is serving 25 years in prison without parole for later raping a 12-year-old boy.


At the meeting in Boston, Voice of the Faithful vowed to find ways for lay Catholics to "actively participate in the governance and guidance of the Catholic Church." Included among proposals were policy-making power for lay church members and giving parishioners a role in the appointment of bishops and pastors.


At the Nashville meeting at St. Ann's Catholic Church, people acknowledged that the calls for change in the church are not unanimous and stressed that members don't want to contribute to an image of renegades attempting to destroy a 2,000-year-old institution. Rather, they want to advocate for positive change in the church they love.


"I certainly don't want to be part of a group that is going to alienate the bishop or the priests," said Tom Riss, a team coordinator with the Department of Children's Services who was elected one of the local Voice of the Faithful facilitators. "We don't want to be dividers we want to be unifiers."


Members elected Cynthia Gause-Vega, a research associate at Vanderbilt University, as the other facilitator.


The group will invite Bishop Kmiec to its next meeting to address the organization about the charter that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops voted on at its annual meeting in Dallas, where the sexual abuse scandal dominated the agenda. That will help set the agenda for future committee meetings, local officials said. The group has six committees that address policy, spirituality, protecting children, healing survivors, structure and supporting priests of integrity.


The group has attracted Catholics from many walks of life: lawyers, certified public accountants, doctors, theologians and social workers.


"It's people who are accustomed to making a difference," said Mary Catherine Dean, the group's secretary, who earned a master's of pastoral studies degree from Loyola University in New Orleans and is a pastoral associate at Holy Name Catholic Church in east Nashville.


Tennessean columnist Tim Chavez helped organize the local group but declined when nominated for office yesterday. "I just wanted to get things started," Chavez said.


Earlier in the meeting, he told the 70 people assembled, "We are on a journey of what we feel is finding our voice at this time."


One priest who attended the meeting, the Rev. Philip Breen of St. Ann's, commended the people for getting together and told them to be prepared for a long mission.


"If anybody's expecting quick results, you're going to be disappointed," he said. He added that the work will be dreary and difficult at times.


"It will not always be pretty, but neither was the crucifixion," Breen said.


PHOTO BY FREEMAN RAMSEY


Patricia Newton of The Cathedral Parish presents recommendations at a meeting of the new Catholic laity group at St. Ann's Catholic Church.


Author: BRIAN LEWIS

Section: Local

Page: 2B


Copyright (c) The Tennessean. All rights reserved. Reproduced with the permission of Gannett Co., Inc. by NewsBank, inc.


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Paper: Tennessean, The (Nashville, TN)

Title: Nashville diocese's abuse policy mirrors

Author: BRIAN LEWIS

Date: June 15, 2002

Section: Main News

Page: 12A


bishops' documentProposal encouraging to some local parishioners


By BRIAN LEWIS


Staff Writer


The policy that U.S. bishops approved yesterday regarding reporting incidents of sexual abuse closely mirrors the policy of the Catholic Diocese of Nashville, officials said.


"There are a lot of similarities between what we have had in the diocese of Nashville for quite some time and the document that they have and a lot of the requirements that are placed on dioceses in this new document," diocesan spokesman Rick Musacchio said of the document that the bishops approved in a 239-13 vote.


Musacchio said he did not know how Nashville Bishop Edward Kmiec voted, though Musacchio said the bishop had been supportive of the document in conversations earlier in the day.


"He was hopeful that they would adopt a similar policy to what we have in Nashville," Musacchio said.


That policy has been in written form since 1992, Musacchio said, and was developed before that. Tennessee state law has required reporting of all allegations of sexual abuse since 1985.


"Our procedures were to follow that, going back that far." Musacchio said.


The diocesan policy states that a priest who has sexually abused a minor is not fit for ministry in this diocese or any other diocese, Musacchio said.


Two Nashville priests have been removed from the ministry because of sexual abuse.


Franklin T. Richards and Edward J. McKeown were asked to leave the ministry on March 1, 1989. McKeown is serving 25 years in prison without parole for raping a 12-year-old boy. Richards was not prosecuted because the statute of limitations had expired.


"As far as we know, there is no one who has been credibly accused in any kind of active ministry in any of our parishes or schools," Musacchio said.


Several Nashville Catholics declined to comment yesterday about the policy the bishops voted on, because they had not read the documents. Others said they thought that the bishops' action was a first step, but were expecting more to happen in the future.


Terry Hunter of the Hunter Co. said he thought that, in the past, the local diocese had done a good job of dealing with abusive priests. However, he said that he had wanted the policy the bishops voted on to be more strict. If a priest were found to have abused children, Hunter said, then the clergyman should be "totally out of the priesthood and not just removed from face-to-face contact."


"It's a step in the right direction. I just wish it had gone a little further," he said. "A priest shouldn't be treated any differently from anybody else, and I mean that from a better-or-worse situation. If they've committed a crime, they should be subject to the same laws as anybody else."


Brian Lewis covers faith, values and religion. He can be reached either at 259-8077 or
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