Catholic Diocese responds

Rev. Patrick J. Winslow of the Catholic Diocese of Charlotte conducts a presentation on the diocese's position on clergy sexual abuse crisis for local media in western North Carolina. The discussion was held at St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Hickory on Wednesday afternoon.

The Catholic Church in western North Carolina is conducting a review of personnel documents going back to the creation of the diocese in 1972 to release a list of priests accused of sexual abuse. The plan is to release the list by December.

On Wednesday, the Rev. Patrick Winslow, the vicar general and chancellor for the Diocese of Charlotte, came to St. Aloysius Catholic Church in Hickory to discuss the review process.

The Charlotte diocese is made up of 46 counties, including Iredell.

Winslow said the church adopted a charter in 2002 to prevent sexual abuse by the clergy. The charter includes a zero tolerance protocol where priests accused of sexual abuse are put on temporary leave. A review board determines whether the accusations are credible, and if they are found to be so, the priest is permanently removed from ministry.

Credible accusations are defined by the church as “more probable than not.” A priest can be removed from ministry as a result of accusations regardless of how much time is between the act and the accusation.

Winslow said the diocese is going through more than 100,000 files, and U.S. Investigation Security Services is acting as independent assistance.

“A historical vetting of the past brings healing to the victims,” Winslow said.

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