Victim skeptical about Catholic Church’s new sex abuse reporting law

Church sex abuse victims skeptical about Vatican's new rules about reporting crimes

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Richard Windmann survived repeated abuse as a child and has been outspoken about the need for change within the church, but says new rules from the Vatican on how child sex abuse should be reported is not enough.

Numerous news outlets have widely reported that under the new Catholic law, priests and nuns are required to report child sex abuse and cover-ups to church authorities, but not to law enforcement.

“What it boils down to is it’s a corporate policy letter, internal, that’s what it is,” Windmann said. “The accountability needs to come from law enforcement,

Windmann faced repeated abuse, first by Boy Scout Leaders, then allegedly by an NOPD detective, a Jesuit High School janitor and a priest.

While the new rules address accountability within the church, Windmann said it does not guarantee that abusers will be prosecuted and stopped.

“It’s meaningless. It means nothing. It means nothing,” Windmann said.

However, New Orleans Archbishop Gregory Aymond said he believes the Pope’s message has been misunderstood.

“He has come down very strongly and said that in all cases, that these accusations must be reported to law enforcement, to public authorities and they also have to be reported to those in the church who are in authority,” Aymond said.

Aymond added in the United States, church leaders are told through the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People that their first responsibility is to report accusations to law enforcement, then to church authorities.

“I would have concerns with the church just policing itself because in some of that, years ago, 30, 40, 50, 60 years ago it didn’t happen. It is happening now, and I really do understand the skepticism that some have," Aymond said. “But, I would ask them to realize that this is another day. We are trying to be as transparent as we can be and we are being as transparent as we can be.”

Windmann said the church has proven time and time again it’s incapable of policing itself, and said independent bodies -- like law enforcement -- must conduct investigations into child sex abuse.

“I don’t want a word from the Pope. I really don’t acknowledge him to be honest with you -- just like I don’t acknowledge Cannon law," Windmann said. “What I want is law enforcement to do their jobs.”

Copyright 2019 WVUE. All rights reserved.