Published June 6, 2012
In 2001, the Holy See issued new legislation to assist bishops in handling allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clerics. Consistent with that legislation, in 2002, the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops established the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and Essential Norms. The Charter provides comprehensive procedures for addressing such allegations. It requires each diocese in the United States to initiate specific actions to create safe environments. It also directs action in the following areas: healing and reconciliation of victims and survivors; prompt and effective response to allegations; cooperation with civil authorities; disciplining offenders; and providing for means of accountability.
Bishop Clark has been unwavering in his commitment to the principals set forth in the Charter. As he wrote in the Catholic Courier newspaper, “Our Diocese has sought to reach out to those who were hurt in the past by the behavior of some of our priests. I have offered then – and I offer now – my sincere apologies on behalf of our local Church, and a personal pledge to each and every one of the victims and to all our faithful: We will work tirelessly and do everything within our power to prevent such incidents now and in the future. This we promise.”
Consistent with that commitment to openness and transparency, the Diocese of Rochester today publishes the names of all clerics removed from ministry since 2002. This list summarizes the final dispositions of all claims resolved since the Charter's in 2002. The Diocese will update this list if and when any new credible allegations of abuse are presented.
The disposition entitled “Prayer and Penance” is explained as follows: The Essential Norms recognize that there might be cases where a priest or deacon has either admitted to a past act of abuse or has been found guilty of one, but dismissal from the clerical state does not occur. This could happen, for instance, when a priest is seriously ill or of advanced age. In these cases, too, he is forbidden from all public ministry and from otherwise presenting himself as a priest. He is expected to dedicate his life to praying for victims and repenting of his past offenses.
The Diocese confirms that no priest who has harmed a minor remains in public ministry.
Victims of abuse always have a right to report to the civil authorities. To report a case of possible sexual abuse and to receive help and guidance from the Diocese of Rochester, victims are encouraged to contact the victims’ assistance coordinator appointed by Bishop Clark: Deborah Housel: (585) 328-3228 ext. 1555 or toll-free (800) 388-7177 ext. 1555 or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Cases concluded canonically by dismissal or prayer and penance. The clerics whose names are included in this section, at the end of a canonical process, either have been dismissed from the clerical state or assigned to a life of prayer and penance, with no public ministry possible
Thomas Burr Prayer and Penance
Thomas Corbett Prayer and Penance
Eugene Emo Dismissed from the clerical state
Robert Hammond Prayer and Penance
William Lum Prayer and Penance
Dennis Sewar Dismissed from the clerical state
David Simon Prayer and Penance
Francis Vogt Prayer and Penance
Robert Winterkorn Prayer and Penance
2. Cases concluded canonically by voluntary laicization. Laicization is a canonical process whereby the cleric voluntarily requests that he be separated from the clerical state. Included in this section are the names of priests who sought laicization after being accused of the sexual abuse of a minor.
3. Cases not yet resolved canonically. Included in this section are the names of priests where canonical proceedings remain to be completed. In each case, the cleric involved has been removed from public ministry and remains on administrative leave.
4. Complaints unresolved due to death of accused cleric. This section includes the names of deceased clergy for whom criminal or canonical proceedings were not completed because the cleric died, but the existence of allegations has been publicized.
5. Complaints received after the death of a cleric and publicized.