Lincoln Bishop says diocese is cooperating with AG’s office, in midst of review by task force

The Diocese of Lincoln provided an update Friday on the actions it has taken in regards to reports of misconduct by priests in Nebraska and across the state. 

In a statement on the Diocese website, Bishop James Conley said the Diocese of Lincoln has fully cooperated with the AG’s state-wide investigation of Nebraska’s three Catholic dioceses, and will continue to do so.

In October, Bishop Conley commissioned an independent task for to conduct an outside review of diocesan procedures, prior allegations of sexual misconduct or abuse of minors or adults made against clergy and how those allegations were handled. 

Conely said after the task force completes its review, it will provide the him “guidance regarding appropriate actions and specific reforms to ensure the Diocese is using best practices for safe environments within its institutions and promote healing.”

Conley said it would be premature to put out information regarding clergy or diocesan personnel before the task force finishes its review. 

The Diocese encourages all victims of abuse to report their abuse to the Attorney General, local law enforcement or the Nebraska Department of Health & Human Services Adult & Child Abuse & Neglect Hotline at 1-800-652-1999.

The update from Bishop Conley came just hours after the Archdiocese of Omaha announced it had submitted documents to the Nebraska Attorney General’s office detailing criminal sexual misconduct cases against its priests. 

 

Overall, 24 archdiosean priests and 38 clergy have faced substantiated allegations of abuse or misconduct with minors.
 

“We acknowledge this report with sorrow, and know that it will cause a great deal of pain,” said Archbishop George Lucas said in a release. “We’re deeply saddened so many innocent minors and young adults were harmed by the church’s ministers. To victims and their families, I am sorry for the pain, betrayal and suffering you have experienced in the church.”

Lucas added that none of the 132 priests and 215 deacons currently serving in the ministry have faced any substantiated allegations of sexual abuse against a young person.

“When we see these numbers that go back many decades, we can see that there was a pattern of failure – both on the part of those who misused their office to abuse minors and vulnerable adults, and on the part of those who refused to listen to victims in a compassionate, just and forthright way,” Archbishop Lucas said.
 

The documents were requested by Attorney General Doug Peterson last summer.

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