LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Two Louisville priests are being punished by the church for credible claims of sexual assaults, according to a report from the Louisville Archdiocese.
The new report is the latest in a series from around the country, where archdioceses are coming forward about priests accused of sexual assault.
The two priests listed in the report of substantiated credible sexual assault of a minor are now serving a penalty of ‘prayer and penance.'
Archbishop Joseph Kurtz said of those two priests, one was involved in a 2003 lawsuit against the archdiocese, which concerned similar sexual assault allegations.
The Archdiocese of Louisville has offered services to victims of abuse and assault over the past 15 years since that lawsuit. They say those services, and this report, are just the start of what they plan to do.
“We’re serious about creating a safe environment," Kurtz said.
The report released Thursday by the archdiocese shows how sexual assault allegations have been dealt with in years past and what steps they’ve taken to eradicate abuse in the future.
“First of all, there’s no person who’s had a credible accusation who remains serving as a priest” Kurtz said.
The report shows in 2003, the archdiocese settled a lawsuit for more than 240 victims alleging abuse by 40 priests and others involved with the church.
"Two-thirds of the abuses that were brought to bear actually occurred before 1980, and so a number of the people accused have already died,” Kurtz said.
Of those still living, two priests are now under a penalty of prayer and penance - which prevents them from acting or dressing as a priest, taking part in mass or being around children unsupervised.
Unlike the Archdioceses of Indianapolis, Kurtz said they aren’t releasing the names of the two priests accused of sexual assault of minors -- at least not yet.
“I could release names but people could likely say, 'Well, how do we know this is a good report?’” Kurtz said. "So we’re looking very seriously right now at identifying someone who would be able to do what I’d call an independent, third-party review so we can anticipate releasing the names.”
Now, their focus is prevention. They have policies preventing dangerous people from becoming priests and plans to remove any priests accused of abusing power.
“We’re doing our best never to have a child or young person in any way abused, now or into the future," Kurtz said. “Should that happen however, I think we would continue to act firmly and quickly.”
The archbishop said he will be traveling to Baltimore next month to address the possibility that bishops have been negligent in the past. Kurtz said he hopes to see a third-party approach established there as well, so that if a criminal issue is suspected, it will go directly to criminal and church authorities for investigation.