Catholic Abuse Report Released

There were 33 allegations of sexual abuse against nine Omaha Archdiocese priests during the 52 years ending in 2002, the Roman Catholic archdiocese said Friday.

The figures were made public as part of a national survey studying child sexual abuse by priests from 1950 to 2002.

"We are learning to watch for the signs of abuse and to respond promptly to them," Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss said.

The nine priests against whom allegations were made represented just over 1.5 percent of the 535 priests who served during that time span, the archdiocese said.

"I can assure the people of this archdiocese that no credible report of sexual abuse of a young person will ever be ignored in the future, and no one who abuses children will be tolerated in ministry in this archdiocese," Curtis said.

Nineteen of the 33 victims were reported to have been abused in the 1970s, eight in the 1980s, one in the 1990s and three from 2000 to 2002. Two other cases were reported from the 1960s, and none were reported from the 1950s.

Archdiocesan records show its insurance carrier paid more than $2.8 million for legal costs, settlements with victims and counseling related to sexual abuse for the 52-year period.

The majority of that money, $2.1 million, was paid for the trial and settlements related to one priest who wasn't named in the report, the archdiocese said.

In 1998, former priest Daniel Herek was sent to prison for abusing an altar boy. In 2002, a jury awarded $800,000 to the former altar boy and his mother after the archdiocese admitted liability for the abuse that occurred in the mid-1990s.

The archdiocese has settled six other lawsuits for undisclosed amounts related to the sexual abuse of former altar boys by Herek.

The archdiocese has had other high-profile cases of a sexual nature.

The Rev. Robert Allgaier was sentenced in 2002 to two years of probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine for viewing child pornography over the Internet.

Three other priests were placed on administrative dismissal and
banned from publicly offering Mass after they were accused of
sexual abuse in 2002.

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