Twenty-nine priests in the archdiocese were accused of sexual abuse against adults and children dating back to the 1940s.
(Indianapolis, Ind.) - The Archdiocese of Indianapolis has released the names of clergymen who have faced accusations of sexual abuse.
Indianapolis Archbishop Charles W. Thompson said releasing the list of priests who have faced credible accusations could help sexual abuse survivors find the strength to come forward.
“I apologize to all victims for the abuse that was done to them and for the failure of the Church to keep them from harm. I pledge to do everything within my power to protect our youth,” Thompson said in a statement.
The list includes 29 priests who served in the Archdiocese or in religious orders since the 1940s. Twenty-three of them were accused of sexual abuse of a child.
Among them is a former pastor at St. Lawrence Church in Lawrenceburg. An allegation of abuse between 1944 and 1946 was made against M William J. Kreis. Msgr. Kreis died in 1954, before the accusation was brought forth, meaning he was unable to offer a defense, the archdiocese notes.
“Although there was no way to substantiate the claims being made against the deceased clergy, the Archdiocesan Review Board recommended, out of an abundance of caution and transparency, to include their names…” the archdiocese’s statement read.
The most recent abuse allegations related to incidents which occurred in 1997. Father John S. Muang was removed from ministry in August. The 79-year-old was a priest at St. Lawrence in Indianapolis, St. Gabriel in Connersville, and St. Joseph in Shelbyville.
Most of the priests on the list faced only one or a handful of allegations. Two faced far more. Albert Vincent Deer, who died in 1972, faced accusations from 23 victims from the late 1950s and continuing through the early 70s.
Sixteen victims submitted allegations against Harold E. Monroe for abuse between 1976 and 1982. Monroe was removed from priesthood in 1984 and was dispensed from the clerical state in 2011.
The release does indicate that the priests accused of abuse make up a small percentage of the clergymen. Since 1940, at least 940 priests and 68 deacons have served in the Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
The archdiocese explained the process of receiving, investigating, and deeming credible each allegation:
The list of credibly accused clergy is based on the recommendation of the Archdiocesan Review Board, which is composed of five lay persons and one clergy member. The current and past members of the Archdiocesan Review Board hold or have held positions in law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office, child protective services, primary education, childhood development, social work, practice of law, and psychology, including neuropsychology.
An allegation of sex abuse of a child or young person was deemed credible if, after a thorough investigation and review of available information, the accusation was determined to be more likely to be true than not in the judgment of the Archdiocesan Review Board.
The archdiocese says it reports all abuse allegations it receives to Indiana’s Child Protective Services and criminal investigators, as required by law. It also encourages all victims to contact civil authorities.