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Throughout 2002, the Toledo Blade posted several investigative reports on child sexual abuse inside its diocese. In one sense the reports were alarming: they unveiled an organization through which priests who destroyed young children had their crimes hidden and their careers protected. But also in another sense, the material was hardly surprising, since the reports simply revealed a pattern which was proven to be present from coast to coast.
The report revealed that in 1984, father Robert Thompson, then 54, ended up being caught in a shopping mall bathroom having sex with a 16-year-old boy. In spite of the undeniable fact that he was guilty of violating age-of-consent laws, “In the following years, his arrest reports vanished, his record ended up being expunged, and he was sent by the diocese to four more parishes.”
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People law enforcement surprisingly felt reluctant to embarrass a man of the cloth, and gave Thompson special treatment accordingly. But other occurrences of predator priests in the diocese’s history are more painful. As opposed to the judicial system hiding what actually transpired, fellow clergy held the secret. One illustration is Leo Welch, who had been found abusing kids in 1961 but instructed to go stay with his mother and father, and reassigned to a different parish just 3 months later devoid of action being implemented.
The examination, which made use of legal and internal church documents, learned that rapes of youngsters had been committed by Toledo priests in every decade since the 1950s. In 1995, the diocese implemented a sex abuse strategy, but failed to always follow its own guidelines. Twelve men had confessed to carrying out abuse, but in no situation did fellow clergy report what had occurred to the authorities; in 3 instances the perpetrator was caught simply because law enforcement discovered it separately.
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In 8 instances, victims who came forward were silenced through secret out-of-court settlements. These types of payments compensate survivors for their pain and suffering, at the cost of stopping them from speaking out or exposing the abuser. On many occasions the priest was sent for therapy as opposed to being regarded as a criminal.
As of 2018, the diocese lists 20 priests on its website who had been charged with abuse. Twenty-six more are among the accused, although not contained on the list due to the fact they are dead and cannot defend themselves, as reported by church spokespeople.
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The method of publicly listing accused clergy members is becoming popular across the nation. Dioceses generally require only that the claims be credible, not incontrovertibly verified; these lists provide some type of accountability, albeit small, for abusers who have not faced legal justice.