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Archbishop Coakley announces review, reporting plan for past allegations of abuse by clergy in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City

OKLAHOMA CITY – Archbishop Paul Coakley on Wednesday announced the archdiocese’s plan for reviewing and reporting all past allegations of child sexual abuse by priests. The first report will include a review of files from 1960-2018. 

  
The review will include all instances where credible allegations of child sexual abuse were reported, substantiated, prosecuted or admitted to among priests serving in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City. Once complete, the report will be made available to the public on the archdiocesan website – www.archokc.org
  
“This is a very dark moment in the history of our beautiful, but wounded, Catholic Church. We are called to prayer and penance for the purification of the Church and our bishops and priests must set the example. It calls for a renewed commitment to vigilance, transparency and accountability from our shepherds and indeed for the whole Church,” said the Most Rev. Paul S. Coakley, Archbishop of Oklahoma City. “An internal and independent review of previous allegations is a good place to start. No matter how painful this process may become, I am committed to reviewing and sharing the specifics of these cases.” 
  
Archbishop Coakley and Chancellor Michael Scaperlanda presented the plan Wednesday to the Archdiocesan Review Board. The board was created in 2002 as part of the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People and consists of mostly lay faithful. 
  
William Shaw, chairman of the review board, said board members approved the plan and were grateful the diocese was beginning the process. 
  
The plan will include: 
  
- A review by the chancellor of every priest’s file – active and inactive – for priests who have served in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City since 1960 (Prior to 1972 it was the Diocese of Oklahoma City and Tulsa); 
  
- Any file with an allegation of abuse of a minor or an abuse of power in a sexual relationship will be turned over to Ron Shinn, an attorney in the law firm of McAfee and Taft, for review; 
  
- As an expert in internal institutional investigations, Shinn and his associates will conduct an independent review of the files and investigate further, if necessary; 
  
- Once all files have been reviewed, McAfee and Taft will issue a report with the facts of each case and provide an analysis of how the archdiocese handled the matters over the years; 
  
- Investigators also will provide recommendations; 
  
- The report will be published online, and a copy sent to all priests, deacons and parish staff. 
  
The initial report is expected to be completed in 10 to 12 weeks. A second report, reviewing files prior to 1960 will follow. 
  
To report incidences of abuse in the past or present, contact the Abuse of Minors Pastoral Response Hotline at (405) 720-9878. Under Oklahoma law, all individuals must report an incident or suspicion of sexual abuse of a minor (person under age 18) to civil authorities. 

The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has established a statewide abuse reporting hotline – (800) 522-3511. A report to the archdiocese does not relieve the individual of the duty to report child abuse to civil authorities as required by state law. 

For more information on the Safe Environment protocol in the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, go online tohttps://archokc.org/safe-environment

To read recent statements from Archbishop Coakley, visit https://archokc.org/news-releases