Updated Aug 19, 2012 - 3:28 pm
Catholic diocese misses abuse report deadline
PHOENIX — The Roman Catholic office overseeing parishes in Maricopa, Coconino, Yavapai and La Paz counties has missed its own deadline to publish a report detailing sexual abuse by priests.
The Diocese of Phoenix promised to publish a comprehensive list of abusive clergy and a financial accounting by June 14. The Arizona Republic reports that diocese officials are refusing to discuss why they missed their own deadline.
The report is supposed to detail the church abuse scandal in Phoenix, where more than two dozen priests were either arrested or accused of sexual misconduct. The scandal erupted in 2002 with the release of diocesan files in Boston and is believed to have cost about $3.3 billion in settlements and verdicts nationwide.
Diocese officials say the report is now expected to be published in the fall edition of the diocese-produced "Catholic Sun" newspaper.
"We are working on it," diocese communications director Rob DeFrancesco said. "We do not have anything else to add at this time."
The diocese said last year that the report would be ready in time for the 10th anniversary of the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, known as the Dallas Charter. The charter was the bishops' response to the erupting scandal.
A bishop recently called the Republic and suggested the newspaper contact the diocese vicar general to discuss the details of the report. But now the caller, Auxiliary Bishop Eduardo Nevares, says the Rev. Fred Adamson doesn't want to release the report "in bits and pieces."
The diocese previously said the report would include a full list of credibly accused clergy in the diocese. In 2004, as part of a report to the national bishops' organization, the diocese listed 18 men, but that list has grown to more than 30, depending on how the counting is done.
The Republic maintains an updated list, and the website bishopaccountability.org, created by laypeople after the scandal began to keep as many public documents available as they can find, also attempts to list abusive priests.
"Credibly accused" is a term dioceses use to note that a situation of abuse could have happened in the way described by a victim. In many cases, the "credibly accused" clergy have never been charged by authorities, sued by victims or suspended by diocese leaders.
The count is complicated by several factors, including its spinoff from the Tucson Diocese more than 40 years ago, numerous religious orders and priests from overseas.
Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.