As we stand beside one of former Priest Thomas Maloney’s courageous victims, Andrew Ward and his family today, and in light of Archbishop Myers’ botched handling of the Michael Fugee and Robert Chabak scandals, it is with concern for past and future victims of clergy sexual abuse that we question Archbishop Myers’ handling of child sexual abuse allegations.
While Father Maloney was employed by the Diocese of Peoria from the 1960s through 2000s, at least three separate allegations of sexual impropriety were made against him by victims or their families. These allegations along with Myers’ deposition and Msgr. Maloney’s file can be viewed here. This included a report made by a New York woman in December 1995 and if Myers’ had acted swiftly and appropriately by removing Maloney from ministry, young Andrew may have escaped Msgr. Maloney’s predatory ways.
Another report was made to the Diocese of Peoria when parents of an 8th grade boy wrote to Msgr. Steven P. Rohlfs on August, 12, 1999 reporting that Maloney had, during confession, “proceeded to inappropriately discuss with our son the sexual acts of a fellow priest.” The response of the Diocese was that Msgr. Rohlfs would meet with Maloney and tell him to “adjust his confessional practice in light of these allegations.”
Archbishop Myers also acted appalled that the parishioners should dare to bring up any allegations of impropriety regarding Father Maloney writing, “I don’t know what to say about other matters which you mention…I don’t know in what context others would have said ‘we know Father has problems…’ I do know that Father loves people, especially young people, and that he cares for them generously. We have never had allegations of impropriety.”
This case demonstrates that Archbishop Myers has continuously and repeatedly chosen to protect himself and the Diocese over the children and the families who have been violated. This never should have happened and never would have happened if the top officials had chosen to believe the victims instead of protecting the predators.
Jeff Anderson is an attorney and advocate working with survivors of clergy sexual abuse at Jeff Anderson & Associates.