The Roman Catholic priest abuse scandal that has rocked the church has found its way to Northwest Indiana.
The Catholic Diocese of Gary released the names Tuesday of 10 priests it says sexually molested children.
The names are: Richard Emerson, Stanley Staniszewski, Don Grass, Terrence Chase, George Kavungal, Ambrose McGinnity, Stephen Varga, Louis Jeziorski, Joseph Buczyna and Julian Jercha. All but Emerson, Chase and Kavungal are dead. Some of the priests served in the diocese as far back as the 1970s.
“We all share in the anger, pain and frustration brought on by this abuse crisis,” Debbie Bosak, a spokeswoman for Gary Bishop Donald Hying, said in a prepared statement.
After U.S. bishops adopted a Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People in 2002, they have been committed to more transparency on abuse allegations involving priests, Bosak said.
“Thus, many dioceses, including the Diocese of Gary, have posted their lists of priest offenders with charges that have been found to be credible,” she said.
According to the diocese, Emerson had four credible allegations of molestation against him, Chase had one and Kavungal, six.
Bosak said credible means “there is reason to believe that an allegation has merit, there is sufficient evidence that sexual abuse of a minor may have occurred and the complaint is judged not to be manifestly frivolous or false.”
According to the diocese, Emerson was removed from the priesthood in 2006 and Chase was removed in 2016. Kavungal was removed from public ministry, but the diocese did not give the year of the action. He was last known to be living in India, the diocese said.
WBEZ has not been able to reach the men for comment.
The Gary diocese represents nearly 200,000 Catholics in four Northwest Indiana counties.
The release of the list comes several weeks after a grand jury report in Pennsylvania said more than 300 priests molested children over decades.
Bishop Hying released a statement August 15 saying one of the priests named in the report, Father Raymond Lukac, had served at Bishop Noll Institute, a Catholic high school in Hammond, Indiana, in the early 1960s.
An individual made an allegation against Lukac in 2012 and the Gary diocese investigated, but officials concluded there was “insufficient evidence to affirm credibility,” Hying’s statement said.