Rev. Robert Oliver, the new sex crimes prosecutor for the Vatican, quoted Pope Benedict XVI when he said that the church has to recognize “grave errors in judgment that were often committed by the church’s leadership,” according to The Associated Press.
Oliver formerly worked as a canon lawyer in the archdiocese of Boston. He issued his comments just days after thousands of documents about abusive priests were ordered released by a court in Los Angeles. The documents show how top archdiocese officials in Boston protected the church by failing to report child sex abuse crimes to authorities.
As part of a $660 million settlement with victims of abuse in 2007, the archdiocese agreed to release the documents. Individual priests and their attorneys fought for five years for the prevention of the release of the documents. The archdiocese also attempted to white-out large portions of the documents. The documents were finally released when the Los Angeles Times and The Associated Press won their argument for their release.
Oliver cited Pope Benedict when he said, “We must confront the current situation, including our failures, with courage and determination, carried out with honesty and transparency.” He also said that bishops have to follow civil laws and report priests to police who are abusive.
Oliver said that the office received a high of 800 cases in 2004 and that from 2010-2012, the cases averaged 600 per year. The majority of them covered abuse that was committed from 1965-1985.