Monday, November 11, 2002

In Phoenix, the bishop has acknowledged the extent of abuse cases in the diocese:

Bishop Thomas O'Brien on Saturday acknowledged for the first time publicly that about 50 priests, former priests and church employees have been accused of criminal sexual misconduct with minors in the Phoenix Diocese during the past 30 years.O'Brien also said the diocese has paid close to $2 million to settle "12 to 15" lawsuits involving sexual abuse or sexual harassment since he became bishop in 1982....O'Brien did not identify any of the accused, saying he was prevented from doing so because a grand jury is investigating the church's handling of sex-abuse allegations.But he said the numbers included church employees already convicted or acquitted, as well as "a large number" of "priests, teachers, coaches, janitorial employees, maintenance workers and lay ministers" who were accused of sex-related offenses that investigators later found to be "untrue or meritless."

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