Diocese of Tucson responds to allegations of misconduct

Tucson Catholic Diocese sued

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -- A group has accused the Catholic Diocese of Tucson of mishandling claims of abuse.

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests hosted a news conference outside the diocese’s offices early Monday, March 29.

Diana Almader-Douglas said she was abused by a priest and is joining a lawsuit against the Diocese of Tucson, along with the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and St. John’s Seminary in California.

“It is critical parishioners and the public are better informed about the true extent of clergy abuse in southern Arizona, and we remain concerned about enablers within the Diocese of Tucson. Without accountability, there remains a continued threat to children and vulnerable adults,” said SNAP President Tim Lennon.

The group claims the defendants covered up abuse allegations and allowed the priest to keep ministering.

KOLD News 13 is not naming the accused priest because he has not been charged with a crime.

The Diocese of Tucson said it immediately notified the Tucson Police Department about the allegation as soon as it was made and withdrew the priest from the ministry. The diocese said the TPD declined to investigate because the allegations were 50 years old, but an investigation by the Diocese of Tucson found nothing to back up the claim of abuse.

Since the allegation could not be reasonably substantiated, church officials restored the priest to public ministry.

The Diocese of Tucson released a statement reading in part, “Bishop (Edward) Weisenburger joins with bishops, clergy and the lay faithful who deeply regret the abuse of children and remain committed to healing those who have been wounded. Anyone who has been the victim of sexual abuse is strongly encouraged to call public law enforcement. If the abuse involves church personnel, the Diocese of Tucson should also be alerted.”

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