Nebraska Bishops' Joint Statement
In Response to the Nebraska Attorney General's Investigative Report
Today, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson reported on the findings of his three-year investigation into criminal misconduct by clergy ministering in Nebraska’s three Catholic dioceses. His report outlines the abusive behavior of a number of priests, deacons, and Catholic laity over a span of many decades. The Attorney General’s investigation and report concerns the Catholic Church in Nebraska only, and not any other religious denomination, youth service organization, or school system.
We acknowledge with sadness that so many innocent minors and young adults were harmed by Catholic clergy and other representatives of the Church. It is clear that the hurt is still felt, even if the abuse was perpetrated many years ago. We apologize to the victims and their families for the pain, betrayal and suffering that never should have been experienced in the Church.
This report also points out mistakes made in the way dioceses received, reported and responded to allegations of sexual abuse in the past. We have been committed in recent years to comprehensive measures to protect young people and vulnerable adults, preventing abuse, offering healing for past victims of abuse and fully cooperating with civil authorities in these matters. We have made our own public disclosures of offending clergy.
Anyone who believes that a member of the clergy, church worker, or church volunteer has engaged in inappropriate conduct with a minor should contact law enforcement and the Victim Assistance Coordinator of the Diocese where the conduct occurred.
Please join us in praying for healing for victims of abuse, for their families and all in our communities who are touched by the evil of sexual abuse.
Archbishop George J. Lucas Bishop James D. Conley Bishop Joseph G. Hanefeldt
Archdiocese of Omaha Diocese of Lincoln Diocese of Grand Island