Allegations against priest bear further investigation

Posted: Friday, April 09, 2004

Last week, I was among the many dismayed by an allegation of sexual misconduct by my dear, departed friend and spiritual mentor, the Rev. Robert J. Wells. While the Clarion did its job of reporting what information the archdiocese has released, I was deeply disappointed that there was no more than a cursory sentence regarding those of us who believe this accusation to be false. As reported, the Tuesday night meeting with the Archbishop proved to be nothing more than a new forum for Wells' old sparring partners to air their same two cents trivial grievances which have nothing whatsoever to do with the allegation.

While the church worldwide has finally begun to acknowledge deep wrongdoing and exceptional ineptitude in handling the rights of victims of abuse, it has also, perhaps, gone overboard in blindly accepting any potential victim's account. How the archdiocese review accusations and what professional evaluations they employ in determining the legitimacy of the victim's claim bear directly on this case. Many of us doubt this single allegation against Father Wells, in part because when rumor of this circulated a few years ago, a possible accuser was regarded as highly unstable.

I have seen no letters to the editor regarding this topic. Is everyone so blas or are the letters in support of Father Wells and his good reputation all being directed to the archdiocese? It is my hope that upon receiving no further allegations, the committees which determined his guilt may reinvestigate. If this comes to pass, will the Clarion please make as much of the retraction as it has of the accusation?

Mariannell Bassett-Dilley, Oak Park, IL

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