Attorney General’s Report Sparks Mixed Feelings in Those Who Were Sexually Abused as Children by Catholic Priests
Posted on: May 12, 2020 Catholic Church Sexual Abuse
Colorado Attorney General’s investigation into child sex abuse within the Catholic Dioceses of Colorado led to a report listing 43 priests accused of sexually abusing children. One priest in particular, Monsignor Lawrence St. Peter, is suspected to have used his access, given his high ranking, to destroy his own personnel files which likely contained a pattern of sexual abuse against minors. According to the report which cited “strong circumstantial evidence” that those who came in contact with St. Peter during his time in Denver knew of his ‘alcohol problems’ and ‘homosexuality problems’ yet there were no records reflecting those issues in the Denver Archdiocese file. Furthermore, the report found that no sexual abuse allegations existed in his file from the 1970s to 1980s even though other priests had reported his behavior to superiors during that timeframe. Because of these circumstances, the attorney general’s report stated that “It was widely rumored that St. Peter used that access to destroy incriminating documents.” The investigation, led by 3rd-party investigators, found other documents showing abuse by St. Peter dating back to 1963.
In 1993 St. Peter was placed on medical disability due to alcohol problems and mental illness. However, the attorney general’s investigation found that the real reason for his departure came from an ultimatum given by the Denver Archdiocese. He was given the option to resign and retire on medical disability and leave town or be forced to participate in an investigation into his sexual misconduct. St. Peter chose to resign but later returned to Denver in 2003. He died shortly thereafter from kidney failure at the age of 74.
One victim who spoke in depth to the Colorado Sun, explained that St. Peter was ‘like family’ and that his father, at the time of the sexual abuse, considered Monsignor St. Peter one of his best friends. This survivor in particular expressed his frustration claiming that the attorney general’s office did not properly notify victims prior to releasing the report. In his interview with the Colorado Sun, he’s explained why he is still upset with how his secret came to light, but also that he is glad he’s now finally able to start addressing the abuse and get the help he needs. The report has forced many sexual abuse survivors and their families to confront their Catholic faith.
Currently, new legislation has been proposed in Colorado which would eliminate Colorado’s civil statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse claims, however, it doesn’t appear that the new law would open a ‘window’ allowing those with previously expired statutes to pursue legal claims against their perpetrators or those responsible.
The entire article can be viewed here.
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