Schafer personally called Frondorf before releasing a press statement, which said, “In explaining the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s approach regarding deceased clergy who are accused for the first time of sexual abuse, I used very unfortunate language by saying, in part, that we would not ‘trash’ the reputation of a person who has no ability to defend himself. I deeply regret this word choice because it could be read as discounting the ongoing pain experienced by people who have suffered reprehensible violations of their human dignity. Nothing could be further from my intention.”
“The archdiocese, under the leadership of Archbishop Dennis Schnurr, is committed to the protection of any person, child or adult, involved with any of our various ministries and to the pastoral care of any victim of past abuse. I apologize to anyone whom I inadvertently offended with my words,” Schafer said.
Frondorf, who leads the Cincinnati and Dayton chapter of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, or SNAP, told the newspaper he did not think the spokesman was intentionally demeaning, but he said not publicly naming the priests “robs the survivor of the opportunity for some validation.”
“When somebody reads the name of the perpetrator priest in the paper, that means a lot,” Frondorf said. “If you take away that ability for someone to know they weren’t the only one, it sets back that process. And that’s what the church has never understood.”
The archdiocese has not yet said if the dead priests accused in fiscal year 2018 were subject to previous allegations. The newspaper also reported that in fiscal year 2017, new allegations of sexual abuse of a minor were made against three unnamed priests, all of whom are dead and two of whom were previously accused. Schafer said all cases were referred to local civil authorities.
If a priest is accused while alive, the archdiocese makes the accusation known to the public. Schafer said there are no active cases of clerical abuse of minors anywhere in the archdiocese, which includes Dayton, Springfield, Hamilton and Middletown.
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