On February 19, 2019, Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila and the three dioceses of Colorado announced a joint and voluntary agreement with the Colorado Attorney General for an independent review of the history of sexual abuse of minors by diocesan priests, along with an independent survivor compensation program.
February 19, 2019
Dear Brothers & Sisters,
As part of my promise to you to be transparent about how the archdiocese is addressing the issue of the sexual abuse of minors by priests, I have some news to share.
As some of you may be aware, on February 19, 2019, all three Colorado dioceses voluntarily entered into an agreement with the Colorado attorney general to review our priest personnel files to determine those who have substantiated allegations of sexually abusing a minor. This review will be carried out by former U.S. Attorney Robert Troyer, whose task will be to identify these priests and publish a report on the matter.
Above all, we hope that this review will help bring a measure of justice and healing to the victims. It will also be an important opportunity for an honest and fair evaluation of our historical handling of the sexual abuse of minors by priests and our current policies and procedures. I am confident in the steps we have taken to address this issue and that there are no priests in active ministry currently under investigation.
The Colorado bishops desire the healing of the survivors of abuse. For that reason, we will soon be launching an independent survivor compensation program, which will be administered by nationally recognized experts. The administrators will receive and evaluate claims from those who say they were sexually abused as minors by priests. It will be overseen by an independent panel led by former U.S. Senator Hank Brown. The costs of the program will be funded by archdiocesan assets and reserves, but not by parish funds, the Archbishop’s Catholic Appeal, or Catholic Charities assets.
The damage inflicted upon young people and their families by sexual abuse, especially when it’s committed by a trusted person like a priest, is profound. And while money can’t heal wounds, it can recognize the evil that was done and help restore peace and dignity to survivors. It is our sincere hope that these two initiatives will accomplish that task and bring healing to the Church in Colorado.
I ask you to join me in praying for all victims and for our ongoing efforts to bring healing and reconciliation to the survivors of sexual abuse as minors. May Jesus, who is the way, the truth and the life guide us and may we keep our eyes fixed on him who alone can bring healing and peace.
Sincerely yours in Christ,
Most Reverend Samuel J. Aquila, S.T.L.
Archbishop of Denver