Bishop: Church today ‘not the church’ of grand jury report
PITTSBURGH — The bishop of Pittsburgh’s Roman Catholic diocese pushed back against a call for his resignation and said the diocese has “followed every single step” needed for responsible action after allegations of child sexual abuse.
Bishop David Zubik spoke Sunday to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” following the Tuesday release of a landmark report detailing widespread child sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania Roman Catholic dioceses. The report accused Zubik of not reporting credible allegations.
Zubik said he can understand the rage people have reading the report and “I feel that rage too.” But he said that since he became the bishop in 2007, “we have followed every single step that we needed to follow to be responsible in our response to the victims.”
Officials have, he said, listened to victims “very carefully,” removed priests from dioceses, turned allegations over to appropriate district attorneys, let an independent review board look at whether a return to ministry is warranted and finally, informed parishioners of the diocese’s actions.
“The church of Pittsburgh today is not the church that’s described in the grand jury report,” he said.
The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests called for Zubik to step down and for an end to donations “until he steps down or takes proven steps that protect kids.”
Asked about an allegation in the report that an alleged victim was told after a meeting with Zubik that the diocese would pay for college tuition and counseling in exchange for his silence, Zubik said the allegation was made after the person accused of abuse had died, and the diocese has decided since 2002 “not to do any confidentiality agreements.”
“But we needed to be able to assert whether or not the alleged behavior did in fact occur,” he said. “And that was part of the discussion that took place in that particular case.”