As the bishops assembled in Seattle for their spring meeting, they once again had to grapple with the issue of clergy abuse. While some recent allegations are worthy of pursuit, others don’t pass the smell test. The following cases were reported in the news during the first two weeks of June:

 • A Tennessee man claimed he was abused in the 1970s, though he and his lawyers admitted that his memories were returning “a little at a time”

• A Louisiana man claimed he was abused in the 1970s, though he admitted that he “suppressed” his memories until recently

• A Texas man claimed he was abused by a priest in the 1980s but couldn’t remember the accused priest’s name

• A convicted murderer from Pennsylvania claimed he was abused in the 1960s, though two of his own brothers don’t believe him

• A Kansas man who initially accused a priest of wrestling with him back in 1970s, now claims he was groped

• The Seattle archdiocese was sued by a woman who claimed she was fondled in the early 1960s at a church picnic by a man who was not a priest

• After a New York man read about the death of a priest whom he knew, he claimed he was abused by him in the 1960s

• A Tennessee man claims he was abused in the 1970s, though the suit never named the priest, who died in 2002

• A California priest who lives in a retirement home and has never been charged with anything, was accused of abuse in the 1960s

• After one Ohio woman came forward claiming she was groped in the 1960s, four other women in the area also claimed victim status

• A man from Pennsylvania said he was touched inappropriately in the 1970s, and even though he never contacted the police, the accused priest was permanently removed from ministry and had his job terminated at the diocese

We hope the bishops took note of these suspect cases. While it is important that the guilty pay, all accused priests are entitled to a presumption of innocence.

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