Press Release: Catholic Church
Re: Report of Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah
In 2019, the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah agreed to permit the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council to conduct a third-party review of any records, files, documents, and reports concerning suspected child abuse in their possession. The Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Diocese of Savannah and their respective attorneys cooperated fully in this file review and made records available as requested. The only time in which files could not be obtained was the two-year period of 2020 and 2021 during the Covid-19 pandemic, when church facilities were not accessible. The review and report of Child Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah has been completed.
The file review focused on information regarding allegations of sexual abuse against minors located in the personnel files of diocesan and religious order priests identified as credibly accused or as having allegations of abuse by the Archdiocese of Atlanta and the Diocese of Savannah. We began the review by immediately evaluating whether any of the alleged sexual abuse reports occurred within the applicable criminal statute of limitations. The review did not uncover ongoing or active allegations of sexual abuse that could be criminally pursued. Confirming that no prosecutable cases existed, the attention of the evaluation turned to the historical sexual abuse of children and sexual misconduct against adults within the church and the church’s response to allegations.
The report contains detailed descriptions of allegations of sexual abuse and other sexual misconduct, including grooming and misuse of authority, against minors and adults. Most of the claims against these individuals have not been fully evaluated in a civil or criminal court. Consequently, unless otherwise indicated, all the allegations should be considered just allegations and should not be considered proven or substantiated in a court of law. In all the situations contained in this report either the criminal statute of limitations had expired, the accused was deceased, the allegations had been reported to the proper authorities or the accused had been prosecuted by the appropriate jurisdiction.
While many of the victims cannot obtain justice through criminal prosecution or civil compensation, this report exposes the offending priests, describes their conduct and the actions of those who concealed their abusive acts, providing them with some measure of transparency.
We wish to thank the survivors who have shared their stories. Their courage to come forward helped bring attention to an issue that has affected so many in our state and so many in our country, especially children.
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