The results of a full, voluntary and independent audit regarding sexual abuse in the Capuchin Franciscan Province of St. Joseph detail how the order and its leaders failed to protect young people from abuse over the years, but also represents a transparent effort by the order to “learn from the past to make our present and the future better,” said Fr. John Celichowski, the Detroit-based order’s provincial minister, in a news release June 18.
The audit, which the Capuchins commissioned last year to be conducted by a group of outside experts, included a detailed examination of its 1,093 records — including all available policy and personnel files for current, former and deceased members of the province — dating to the 19th century. Although much of the information uncovered was already public, such as revelations of abuse at St. Lawrence Seminary High School in Mount Calvary, Wis., that took place over several decades, the audit is significant for its detail and thoroughness in documenting past abuse allegations, context and subsequent actions taken by leaders at various levels in the province.
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