Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Archbishop Chaput defends reputation of falsely accused priest

Catholic World News - July 16, 2010

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver issued a statement on July 13 announcing that Msgr. William Higgins, a priest who died in 1967, had been falsely accused of the sexual abuse of a minor.

“More than a year ago a female plaintiff filed a complaint under the pseudonym ‘Jane Doe’ against Monsignor William Higgins,” said Archbishop Chaput. “Msgr. Higgins passed away in 1967, after more than five decades of loyal service in this archdiocese … Other than this single complaint made 42 years after Msgr. Higgins' death, no complaint has ever been advanced against this fine priest.”

Archbishop Chaput continued:

Through the litigation and the extensive discovery in the case, the archdiocese determined that the plaintiff's complaint was not credible and the charges made against Msgr. Higgins were groundless. The plaintiff has voluntarily dismissed all claims.

If Msgr. Higgins were alive today, he would be in good standing and able to minister in the archdiocese. False charges do inexcusable harm to a priest's good name, his reputation earned over years of service to others, and to the lay Catholic faithful and other dedicated priests. We are saddened that such a charge was made, but want you all to know that you can esteem Msgr. Higgins and keep him in your prayers as a righteous man.

As we work to ensure all people in the Archdiocese of Denver are safe, so too are we determined to defend the reputation of the many, many innocent good men and women who work in the archdiocese and give so much to others.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($27,907 to go):
$150,000.00 $122,092.96
19% 81%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 1 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Jul. 16, 2010 9:21 AM ET USA

    I am glad to live in the US, where an accused is presumed innocent until PROVEN guilty. It would behoove everyone to remember this when accusations are made. Abuse is a terrible crime; so is false accusation.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Complexity of Reforming Religious Communities 16 hours ago
Speaking Softly to Women Religious December 16
In showdown with American sisters, the Vatican blinked December 16
Policing, torture, reasons of State, and our Christian mistake December 16
Can torture ever be justified? Round II. December 15

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis: Europe seems 'elderly and haggard' CWN - November 25
Pope Francis, Ecumenical Patriarch sign joint declaration, lament persecution of Christians CWN - December 1
Consistory for new cardinals scheduled for February CWN - December 11
Vatican report on US women religious calls for further self-assessment CWN - December 16
Pope brokered deal to open US-Cuba ties CWN - 15 hours ago