Diocese of Charlotte reviewing and creating list of historical abuse cases to release

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KERNERSVILLE, N.C. -- In a move to create transparency and allow victims to heal, the Diocese of Charlotte is set to release a list of clergy members who have been accused of abuse.

Specifically cases that occurred before the 2002 Spotlight release.

“This issue affects people deeply and profoundly,” said Rev. Patrick Winslow, vicar general and chancellor of the Diocese of Charlotte. “It’s a real heartache and it takes a great deal to recover.”

In a three-stop tour of the state, Winslow spoke with a small group of administrators and media personal on Wednesday afternoon in Kernersville, at Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.

During the presentation, he outlined the current policies that the Catholic church has in place, which has been described as being “effective.”

Winslow explained that it's about “education, prevent[ion], hold[ing] accountable.”

The protocols were put in place nearly 20 years ago, and include removing the clergy member from the church once a credible allegation is made. Then, taking the necessary actions once a full external and internal investigation is complete.

However, cases before then in North Carolina and across the world were handled differently. Winslow said there no real procedures. “You could have gotten a different answer from one diocese to another.”

Winslow was appointed in April 2019, after his predecessor Monsignor Mauricio West was accused of sexual misconduct in the 1980s. After being appointed he spearheaded the effort to review historical files to any possible abuse cases that were never fully made public.

A team of external and internal experts is reviewing more than 1,000 personnel files, more than 10,000 documents, notes, and handwritten accounts. This consists of more than “1,000 man-hours of work by the outside investigative agency.” That’s according to the diocese. They also stress that “The Catholic Diocese of Charlotte operates more than 15 parishes and missions in the Triad, plus seven schools including Bishop McGuinness Catholic High School.”

The external and internal teams consist of counselors, those who work in law, and special victim’s units.

“Examine from top to bottom, every single personnel files, clergy files, and identify any references that might even allude to such an issue ... a public accounting of the past.”

Winslow said he hopes that the list of names and incidents will be complete by the end of 2019 to release to the public.

He encourages anyone who would like to file an abuse complaint, or inform the Dioceses of misconduct, to contact them through phone, or by clicking here.

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