Bishop Arthur N. Tafoya of Pueblo, Colorado in an official, statement released today, answered to charges of negligence and misconduct directed against his diocese from lawyers and pressure groups defending victims of sexual abuse.
The issue came to the attention of the diocese of Pueblo through an article released yesterday in the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper, and related by pressure groups, alleging the diocese had documents showing the diocese was aware of abuse in June 2002, way before any actions was formally taken.
To this Bishop Tafoya answered that “as has been stated in recent newspaper articles, records indicate that the Diocese of Pueblo received no complaints or reports of sexual misconduct or abuse against former Brother Mueller until the recent claims.”
Lawyers handling the case insist that a letter from a former Roncalli High School student to church officials alerted them to possible sex abuse by a former Pueblo parochial school teacher more than three years before the local Catholic diocese acknowledged it was aware of any allegations.
“In the light of new complaints being made against former Brother Mueller, I wish to state that I am truly sorry for any harm and pain that has been suffered by victims of sexual misconduct,” Bishop Tafoya followed.
“The issue of clergy sexual misconduct is difficult and painful, not only for the individuals involved, but for the people of the Diocese as a whole.”
Bishop Tafoya concluded his letter reaffirming the commitment of “many priests, deacons and religious who are ministering capably and faithfully to the people of the Diocese of Pueblo; it is important that they know how much they are appreciated.”