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US state sues Catholic diocese for hiring pedophiles

Diocese and bishops chose to cover up, conceal arguably criminal behavior of admitted child sex abusers, lawsuit says

Umar Farooq   | 19.03.2019
US state sues Catholic diocese for hiring pedophiles

WASHINGTON

The U.S. state of West Virginia sued a local Catholic diocese Tuesday because it had knowingly employed pedophiles and did not inform the public.

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey filed the lawsuit against the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston as well as its former bishop, Michael Bransfield.

"The Diocese and its Bishops chose to cover up and conceal arguably criminal behavior of admitted child sex abusers," the lawsuit said.

One such hire was Father Patrick Condron, who was employed by the diocese at a seminary high school in Vienna, West Virginia in the 1980s. After admitting he had sexually abused a student, he was sent to substance abuse and psychotherapy facilities for counseling and later reassigned to a local elementary school.

The school failed to mention to parents that it had hired a pedophile.

The diocese was also accused of not thoroughly vetting applications and failing to do adequate background checks and the lawsuit revealed that they had hired people "credibly accused of sexual abuse of children".

It offered multiple cases similar to Condron where the diocese continued to employ people even when it was found they were accused of sexual abuse, all the while failing to mention that they were employing people in schools who were accused of being pedophiles.

The lawsuit said the diocese "has a long history of not providing a safe learning environment for students in its schools and children attending its recreational camps" and that it violated the state's law by failing to safely deliver on the services provided as they were advertised.

The Catholic Church has been marred by sexual abuse allegations after a bombshell investigation by a Pennsylvania grand jury revealed that at least 1,000 children had been abused by the Church.

The investigation found that priests had not only been sexually abusing children but the Church had covered up incidents to protect priests and its image.

Last week, Australia’s top Catholic cardinal, George Pell, was sentenced to six years in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting two choirboys in 1996 and 1997 during his time as cardinal at a Melbourne cathedral.

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