Letter to Clergy, Consecrated & Laity of the Diocese of Sioux Falls,
Today I am releasing the names of those priests of the Diocese of Sioux Falls who have had substantiated allegations of child sexual abuse made against them. It is my prayer that this will encourage any victim harmed by any on this list or any other person serving in ministry in the Church to come forward to law enforcement or to the diocese so that appropriate assistance might be offered and justice accomplished. To all who choose to come forward, please be assured that your confidentiality will be respected.
Our diocese has been blessed by the presence of priests from many religious orders over the years. Any allegations against any of them must be forwarded to their superiors who have direct oversight over them. For this reason, religious order priests have not been included with this list.
PLEDGE TO HEAL
Victims of child sexual abuse too often suffer in silence. Many have shared that they remain silent for fear they will not be believed. By identifying those clergy in our diocese who have had substantiated allegations made against them and providing an accounting of how these were handled over the years, I hope to assure victims that an attentive ear and pastoral support can be expected.
While apologies do not heal or undo the disrespect for and violation of those innocently harmed, I do once again apologize as a sign of my and our faith community’s accepting responsibility for failings over the years. Please hear the Church’s pledge to help heal these hurts. If you feel you have been harmed, please contact law enforcement, our Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator at (800)700-7867 or email@example.com, or the Diocesan Chancellor at (605)988-3704.
PROMISE TO PROTECT
Since the adoption of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, our diocese has strictly followed the protocols established. Our own Diocesan Sexual Misconduct Policy predates the Charter. Both include requirements for informing law enforcement of any credible allegation based on the oversight of the independent Diocesan Review Board. The Review Board is comprised of professional laity and clergy. It also requires a comprehensive education program which seeks to assure a safe environment which includes criminal background checks and annual safe environment training for all clergy, diocesan and parish employees and volunteers who work with children. Failure to complete the Diocesan safe environment program requirements results in the revocation of permission to minister in the Church In addition, candidates for ordination are subject to comprehensive psychological evaluations and regular oversight in their seminary formation.
I am grateful to my predecessor bishops who responded in ways that prevented offending clergy from further violations by removing their ability to serve in public ministry. It should be noted that all the substantiated cases of abuse reflected in this disclosure happened between 1958 and 1992.
Let us remain mindful in the midst of this heaviness that the vast majority of clergy have not violated their promise of chastity or their moral duty to protect children. Unfortunately, a cloud hangs over us all. I offer my fraternal gratitude for the overwhelming majority of priests who have fulfilled their priestly promises and persevered during this heavy time when public revelations of scandal have shaken us all.
In 1983, when I professed faith in the Roman Catholic Church, I did so having previously experienced a spiritual emptiness. Over time, I recognized that my “spiritual house” was not in order. This recognition led me to the Church and the realization that what, or rather who, was lacking, despite my secular successes, was Jesus Christ. My journey is not unique.
At the time, I did not anticipate the scourge of clergy child sexual abuse that has since been revealed. As an official in the Diocese of Madison (Wisconsin), on behalf of the then-bishop, I met with many victims whose stories shocked me, moved me and discouraged me. I have also met with adults who were abused when they were minors since I became Bishop of Sioux Falls. Their pain is real and challenged me personally.
“Had I made the right choice with my conversion?” I contemplated after hearing their stories. Many today, converts and “cradle” Catholics alike, with all that has come forward, surely ponder that question as well.
My answer is a resounding “Yes!”, for Jesus Himself instituted the Church and Jesus Himself continues to guide her. History documents the many times those of us privileged to represent Him through his Church have needed to be called to account. Purification, a cleansing especially poignant in this season of Lent, is an essential component of being held accountable.
This is such a time. The many recent revelations of the horror of clergy sexual abuse of minors around the world and of bishops who covered it up or did nothing rightly lead to a call for an honest and lasting response that Christ asks of us. This must include a partnership with the laity.
I am hopeful that we bishops in the United States will be able to take concrete action at our semi-annual meeting this June to toughen accountability procedures, including for bishops, to provide greater transparency, and to assure pastoral outreach to those whose trust in the Church has been compromised and shaken.
Jesus said “come to me all who are burdened and I will give you rest.1” To the best of our ability, as the local Church in eastern South Dakota, we seek to fulfill that call.
I ask you to pray for all victims and their families, and for Christ’s Church.
Come Lord Jesus, cleanse us of our sins.
Yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Paul J. Swain
Bishop of Sioux Falls
1 – Matthew 11:28
PUBLICATION OF NAMES
PRIESTS WITH ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL ABUSE INVOLVING MINORS MADE AGAINST THEM THAT WERE SUBSTANTIATED
The following list includes those priests who were incardinated and served in the Diocese of Sioux Falls who were alleged to have sexually abused a minor(s) in the Diocese. Allegations were later substantiated through investigation by law enforcement and/or Diocesan personnel.
As the Diocese of Sioux Falls holds responsibility for those diocesan priests who are incardinated to it, only diocesan priests are included in this list. Religious Order priests determined by the leader of their community to have been credibly accused of child sexual abuse and who served in the Diocese of Sioux Falls have not been included.
MILTON J. EGGERLING
ROBERT L. GRABOWSKI
BRUCE C. MACARTHUR
JAMES V. MCCORMICK
FRANK J. MCNEIL
JOHN I. MURRAY
LOUIS D. NALLY
WILLIAM J. NEUROTH
THOMAS J. RYAN
LEONARD F. STANTON
LEONARD M. THURY
If you feel you have been harmed, please contact law enforcement, our Diocesan Victims Assistance Coordinator at (800)700-7867 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Diocesan Chancellor at (605)988-3704.