Rev. Charles Woodrich of the Archdiocese of Denver has been outed as a serial sexual abuser. Better known in Denver as Father Woody, Woodrich was a revered priest in the Catholic community and an iconic figure in the broader Denver community. Over the course of several decades, Woodrich bettered the lives of the less fortunate, beginning in a powerful partnership with the Grande Dame of the city and publisher of the Denver Post, Helen Bonfils. Father Woody became known by many as the Patron Saint of the Poor, Hungry, and Homeless.
The City of Denver was awash in buildings, facilities, and programs named after Father Woody. For example, he founded the city’s largest homes shelter, Samaritan House in 1986. The Archdiocese of Denver issued a statement in the immediate aftermath of Father Woody being identified by the Colorado Attorney General as a perpetrator of child sexual abuse:
What fans and followers of Father Woody were unaware of until mid-December 2020 was that the once-respected clergy member and formidable advocate for the poor was that sexually abused at least three boys between 1976 and 1989. Father Woody died in 1991.
“For Catholics, learning about the past sins of former priests has been extremely difficult, especially when the priest was well-known and respected. For any priest that has been named in the initial report or supplemental report, the archdiocese has removed that priest’s name from any honorary designation including buildings, facilities, and programs.”
Father Woody is alleged to have groomed minor boys, a process that led up to him sexually abusing them. The victim in one case explained that he was 12 years old when Father Woody sexually assaulted him. As part of the process, Father Woody plied the pre-teen with alcohol, followed by sexual abuse.
The Colorado Attorney General is one of a number of state law level prosecutors that have initiated comprehensive, in-depth investigations of the long-term sexual abuse of children by members of the Catholic clergy. These investigations were prompted by the fact that not only have hundreds of priests across the United States engaged in the serial sexual abuse of children but bishops and archbishops covered-up this egregious conduct.
Father Woody was one 52 diocesan priests in Colorado disclosed by the state’s Attorney General in his investigation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy. Many of these priests, like Father Woody, are deceased. 212 separate cases of clergy sexual abuse are documented in the AG’s report.
The Archdiocese of Denver, as well as other dioceses in the United States, have been sued or have settled cases involving child molestation by Catholic priests. State legislatures have altered what are known as statutes of limitation. Statutes of limitation are laws that set deadlines by which lawsuits of different types must be filed. These changes to the laws in various states have significantly enlarged the time in which people can take legal action and file lawsuits against perpetrators of sexual abuse when these individuals were children.
Victims of clergy sexual abuse are well-served consulting with an experienced, compassionate attorney to ascertain their legal rights. This includes situations in which a number of years have passed since a person was sexually victimized by a member of the clergy, including a Catholic priest.
If you or a loved one are the victim of child sexual abuse, including clergy sexual abuse, The Doan Law Firm is here for you. You can connect with a clergy sexual abuse lawyer from our firm by calling (800) 349-0000 any time of the day or night, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year, including all major holidays.
A nationwide law firm, we can schedule an initial consultation and case evaluation with a clergy sexual abuse lawyer at anyone of our 40 offices located from coast to coast. We can also schedule an appointment at your home or at any location that is comfortable for you. You can schedule a virtual case consultation online as well. There is no cost and no obligation for an initial consultation with a Doan Law Firm clergy abuse attorney.
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