Bishop Thomas On The Helena Diocese's Handling Of Sexual Abuse Charges
In 1988, when you were a young Catholic priest, the child sex abuse scandal hit. You urged cooperation, not confrontation, but the church took a different path. Now, you’re a bishop and the scandal explodes in your diocese. What do you do? Bishop George Thomas is the guest on this week's "Home Ground Radio".
Decades ago allegations of sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests emerged. It was stunning, impossible, and true. Criminal prosecutions and convictions followed. And civil lawsuits seeking compensation for victims. How could this be? It got worse. In some places to church had protected pedophile priests from exposure, thinking it was protecting itself. The lawsuits kept coming and still do, and the church defends itself in court.
Now imagine you are a Roman Catholic priest. A man of deep faith. You see the institution to which you have devoted your adult life shaken to the core. You pursue your ministry and after 23 years of service you are appointed bishop in 1999.
Then in your own Montana Diocese it starts. Hundreds of claims emerge, some dating back to before your birth. In addition to human hearts, tens of millions of dollars are on the line. Teams of lawyers are ready. What do you do? Imagine you are George Thomas, Bishop of the Helena Diocese.