Archdiocese of Oklahoma City investigating report of alleged abuse

OKLAHOMA CITY – As the Catholic Church continues to deal with a massive scandal in Pennsylvania, religious leaders in Oklahoma City say they are investigating a report of abuse in the Sooner State.

Recently, officials say the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City received a letter from a former resident of Oklahoma, who reported being abused by a priest of the archdiocese in the 1980s.

The former resident claims the abuse occurred in 1985 at the hands of a former priest.

After learning about the allegations, Archbishop Paul Coakley ordered a review of the former priest’s file as well as an independent investigation, which is still ongoing.

So far, officials say the review of the file found credible allegations against the priest, who was removed from the priesthood in 2002 and laicized in 2011.

Archbishop Coakley apologized for the abuse suffered at the hands of a former priest, and asked the archdiocese to contact the former resident to help him with any lasting effects from the abuse.

The allegation has been reported to the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office and the Oklahoma County District Attorney’s Office. Under Oklahoma law, all individuals must report an incident or suspicion of sexual abuse of a minor to civil authorities. A report to the archdiocese does not relieve the individual of the duty to report child abuse to civil authorities.

To report abuse that occurred in the past or present, call the Abuse of Minors Pastoral Response Hotline at (405) 720-9878. The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has established a statewide abuse reporting hotline at (800) 522-3511.