- Feb 16, 2020
In the wake of revelations that scores of Catholic priests and religious workers credibly accused of child sexual abuse are living unsupervised in communities across the country, state officials face a quandary: Should they screen former clergy members who seek licenses for jobs that put them in contact with children? And, if so, how?
For Frank Meuers, a victim-survivor of clergy sexual abuse, the impact is far-reaching and never-ending.
Mark Belenchia didn’t stay quiet. He told his mother and his uncle, in the mid-1970s. He told a parish priest, then the vicar general, in 1985. Still, the clergyman Belenchia said sexually abused him when he was a child in Shelby, Mississippi, remained in collar and cassock.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests sent a letter to Bishop James Johnston Jr., Friday criticizing the current methods of the review boards, which were mandated in dioceses across the country in 2002 after allegations of widespread sexual abuse by priests began to surface.
Separate internal audits of the Catholic dioceses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa have identified nearly two dozen clerics for whom investigators found substantiated allegations of sexual abuse of children.
An advocacy group for people sexually abused by Roman Catholic priests is criticizing the bishop of the Kansas City-St. Joseph Diocese for not naming more people on a list of clerics who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.