A grand jury report named more than 300 priests accused of child sex abuse. The documents examined six dioceses across Pennsylvania. More than 1000 children were victimized. It’s an investigation stirring painful memories in Dallas.
Windle Turley is an attorney at law in Dallas. Twenty years ago, Turley had a case that pioneered a deeper look into the entire Catholic Church. “It was the first case that revealed the depth and scope of sexual abuse within a diocese,” he said.
Turley said in the 90s, 11 victims came forward about ex-priest Rudy Kos. Kos was sentenced to life in prison for child sex abuse in 1998. Today, he is still serving time.
Turley said the situation in Pennsylvania is familiar. As victims came forward in the Kos case, Turley said, “The same identical story; the same methodology of abuse; the same mistreatment; the same grooming of these young kids from age six."
Turley said the church needs to take more action but believes it will take the public to fix this. “The courts have an obligation to get involved in this right now,” he said. He said it is time to legally stop confidentiality agreements. “It is the cover-up by the institution that is permitting this to continue today,” said Turley.
The documents from Pennsylvania talked about “secret archives.” The current Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas, Edward J. Burns, reassures, “Secret archives do not exist in the Diocese of Dallas.”
Bishop Burns promises to act with transparency and knows that words won’t stop the corruption, but action will. “I am in the planning stages of taking some steps here in the Diocese of Dallas,” he said. He said this action will be announced in the near future.
Burns calls the reports from Pennsylvania “nauseating,” and is ashamed that trusted leaders would turn a blind eye to the situation.
From different perspectives, Turley and Burns both know that change needs to happen to honor the victims and protect the children.