Archbishop Chaput 'saddened' by false abuse charges against deceased priest
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver.
Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- 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?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea

Liturgical Calendar

December 20, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27


Daily Readings

First Reading:: Judg 13: 2-7, 24-25A
Gospel:: Lk 1: 5-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »


Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27