Archbishop Chaput 'saddened' by false abuse charges against deceased priest
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver.

.- Following the dismissal of a sexual abuse claim against a deceased priest in the Archdiocese of Denver, Archbishop Charles Chaput issued a statement saying he was “saddened” by the false allegations.

The Denver Catholic Register reported today that in 2009, a woman with the pseudonym “Jane Doe” accused  Msgr. William Higgins – a priest who died in 1967 at the age of 77 – of sexually abusing her in the 1960s.

Archdiocesan spokeswoman Jeanette DeMelo told the Register that when the complaint was received last year, “we responded immediately.”

“We took the accusation seriously despite the fact that the priest died 42 years ago, and that the charges did not seem plausible,” DeMelo explained. “We reached out to the alleged victim as we do in all such cases. We invited her to participate in our victim outreach panel and offered assistance to her, with the hope for healing.”

“Unfortunately, the woman rejected the archdiocese’s offer to help her through mediation and as a result the lawsuit moved forward,” the spokeswoman said. “It was during the usual extensive investigation and formal discovery process of civil litigation that the plaintiff’s complaint was found to be false and the charges were proven groundless.” 

On June 25 of this year, the “plaintiff then dismissed all claims.”

In a statement issued on July 13,  Archbishop Chaput said that he and the entire archdiocese were “saddened” by the false charges.

“If Msgr. Higgins were alive today, he would be in good standing and able to minister in the archdiocese,” the archbishop affirmed. “False charges do inexcusable harm to a priest's good name, his reputation earned over years of service to others, and to the lay Catholic faithful and other dedicated priests.”

“We are saddened that such a charge was made, but want you all to know that you can esteem Msgr. Higgins and keep him in your prayers as a righteous man,” the prelate added.

“As we work to ensure all people in the Archdiocese of Denver are safe, so too are we determined to defend the reputation of the many, many innocent good men and women who work in the archdiocese and give so much to others,” he concluded.

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages


Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

A state without territory elects new government
A state without territory elects new government
The renewal of the Legionaries of Christ
Presentation of the book "The Pastor"
Synod on the Family October 2014
Preferential option for the poor
God is alive, even in sport
'A forbidden God' named Best Film at the International Catholic Film Festival
Vatican backs a 'Pause for Peace' during World Cup final
The effects of religious violence in Sarajevo 
The origin of Corpus Christi 
Corpus Christi at the Vatican 
Homage to an Indian Cardinal
Train of the Child's Light
New book explaining gestures of the Mass
Encounter between Pope Francis and the Charismatic Renewal in the Spirit Movement.
Religious tensions subside amid Balkan floods
John Paul II Center for Studies on Marriage and Family
Saint John Paul II on cartoon
Syrian Christian refugees
Papal Foundation Pilgrimage

Liturgical Calendar

July 25, 2014

Saint James, Apostle

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 20:20-28


Daily Readings

First Reading:: 2 Cor 4: 7-15
Gospel:: Mt 20: 20-28

Saint of the Day

St. James »


Homily of the Day

Mt 20:20-28


Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com

Ads by AdsLiveMedia.com
Text only

Follow us: