A startling report has the Catholic community in Colorado reeling. The report chronicles years of sexual and emotional abuse that, in many cases, were ignored for decades.
The report is 263 pages. The content is very graphic and the stories are heartbreaking. It was released Wednesday by Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser’s office and now we know some of the priests were practicing in the Colorado Springs and the Pueblo area.
The pages of the report describe scenarios of priests abusing children in Colorado from 1950 to 2019.
At least 160 Colorado kids were abused by 43 priests, placed in positions of power.
KRDO reached out to the Diocese of Colorado Springs and Pueblo via phone. Neither would speak on camera but did offer statements including:
“One victim of the horrific crime of child sexual abuse is too many; the diocese of Colorado Springs must own the consequences of having three,” said Bishop Michael Sheridan, with Diocese of Colorado Springs.
The names of victims are unknown, identified only by monikers like Victim #1 or Victim #5. So far, victims of the abuse in Southern Colorado have not come forward. But other victims, like 58-year old Troy Gallegos of Denver, could pave the way for others.
“[The abuse] started when I was nine, all the way to the age of 14 when I walked out,” he said.
Gallegos says 45 years went by before he stepped out of the shadow of shame and self-loathing and walked into the light.
“It’s never too late. It’s never too late. I think I’m fortunate and blessed to be able to come forward like I have been,” he said.
Friday, survivors of clergy abuse held a news conference at the Denver Press Club to share their stories and discuss why so many people wait such a long time to come forward.
People who were abused by Catholic priests in the dioceses of Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo can now file claims online.
KRDO Only 2019