Bishop Anthony B. Taylor issued the following statement Oct. 23 to update parishioners on progress made since the Clergy Disclosure List was released to the public Sept. 10.
“Last month I issued a letter to all the people of the Diocese of Little Rock to be transparent about how the sexual abuse crisis in the Church included Arkansas. I released the names of 12 priests with service in Arkansas who as of Sept. 10, 2018, had been credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors over the course of the last 70 years. I also announced that Kinsale Management Consulting would undertake a complete, independent review of all relevant files and I indicated that we were prepared to cooperate with the Attorney General in any investigation that she might undertake. As we prepare for Kinsale Management to begin its work, I would to like offer you an interim report regarding what has transpired since the publication of my letter last month.
• The Attorney General’s Office has undertaken an initial review of how we have handled all the allegations we have received since 2002. We continue to cooperate with them and I am confident that they will be satisfied that we are complying with our own policies and procedures as well as with Arkansas law.
• Additional cases: I had hoped that the release of the names of those priests known to have abused minors might enable any as-yet unknown victims to come forward to share their story and receive help, and this has in fact occurred. Since Sept. 10 we have received 26 additional allegations, most of which were against priests already listed in last month’s letter, and none of which were against priests who are currently in active ministry in Arkansas. In addition, all of these new allegations are regarding events that would have occurred before 2002. We have not had the time to investigate these new allegations thoroughly, but we have already offered assistance to those who have contacted us. This information will be provided to Kinsale as they begin their work.
• Kinsale Management Consulting will begin its work Nov. 9. Information about this firm led by former FBI official Dr. Kathleen McChesney can be found at kinsalemanagementconsulting.com.
“Once again, I ask for your prayers for all the victims of sexual abuse from whatever source, but in particular those who have been abused by a priest, deacon or other representative of the Church. I am inspired by the courage and trust required for these victims to come forward to share their pain and their trauma, and I would like to renew my call for any others who have been abused or know someone who has been abused to come forward because we want to help.
“Please contact the civil authorities first by calling the Arkansas Child Abuse Hotline (800-482-5964). And then please call our diocesan contacts: Deacon Matthew Glover, chancellor for canonical affairs (501-664-0340, ext. 361) or Drs. George or Sherry Simon, victims assistance coordinators (501-664-0340, ext. 425). This reporting information is also on our website and posted at all of our parishes and schools. I am deeply concerned to see to it that we offer whatever assistance we can provide.
“Let us continue to pray for one another during these most trying times in our Church. But let us pray most especially for the victims and their families — they are the ones who are hurting the most.”
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