success stories

Diocesan Repercussions of Pedophilia Scandals

Allentown, PA

The Diocese of Allentown, PA., adopted a new zero-tolerance policy and removed four priests from their posts following a review of personnel records that showed they had engaged in sexual misconduct with minors in the past.


Cardinal Bernard F. Law banned 10 priests from any church work, citing a new "zero-tolerance" policy under which no priest can hold any post in the archdiocese if he has a credible allegation against him.

He gave area prosecutors more than 80 names of archdiocesan priests or ex-priests with one or more sexual abuse allegations in their personnel records, some going back four decades. He has agreed to give prosecutors the names of victims who agreed to be named and the names of the attorneys of those victims who did not want to be named.


Cardinal Adam J. Maida of Detroit issued a statement reiterating his archdiocese's policy, which has been in effect since 1988.

Los Angeles

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles said a zero-tolerance policy was already in effect in his archdiocese and added that any priest or deacon who abuses a minor should seek laicization because he will never be allowed to return to ministry.

Manchester, N.H.

Bishop John B. McCormack of Manchester, N.H., announced in February that no priest who has sexually abused a minor will be returned to ministry.

Bishop McCormack, who heads the U.S. bishops' Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse, publicly named seven New Hampshire priests already barred from ministry because of allegations against them and announced the suspension of seven more. Of the seven newly suspended, only one held a parish assignment. The other six were retired or on sick leave but had been permitted to celebrate Mass before they were suspended.


Bishop Tod D. Brown, under a new zero-tolerance policy, removed a pastor from his post because of sexual misconduct with a teenager 19 years ago.


Cardinal Anthony J. Bevilacqua of Philadelphia established a zero-tolerance policy and removed several priests with past allegations against them who had been allowed to return to limited, non-parish ministry. He issued a public apology to those abused by priests, saying a 50-year review of records revealed 35 priests accused of abuse by a total of 47 minors.

Portland, Maine

Bishop Joseph J. Gerry of Portland, Maine, released the names of two pastors who had been returned to ministry after receiving extended treatment more than 20 years ago, each after molesting a teenager. He left it to the respective parishes to decide whether they wanted the priests to stay or be removed.

Bishop Gerry said no other currently active priests were ever accused of sexual abuse of a minor, but he agreed to turn over to a local district attorney the relevant personnel records of any retired or former priest who was ever accused of such abuse.

St. Louis

The St. Louis Archdiocese removed two pastors as a result of a tougher new policy.

Washington, DC

Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick of Washington described his archdiocesan policy as "one of the most comprehensive and stringent procedures to guard against child sexual abuse of any agency, religious or secular, in the country." It includes educational programs on abuse prevention that all clergy, religious, school personnel, catechists, coaches and youth ministers in the archdiocese are required to attend every year.

Worcester & Fall River, Mass

Bishops Daniel P. Reilly of Worcester, Mass., and Sean P. O'Malley of Fall River, Mass., said they have strong policies on sexual abuse but they will review and update them.

A large number of other archdioceses and dioceses in the U.S. are following the same procedures as those above.