The following is from the Diocese of San Diego website:
Dr. Richard Sipe was a controversial but committed advocate on behalf of sex abuse victims and reform in the Catholic Church. A psychoanalyst and a former priest, his research on the roots of sex abuse in the Church goes back more than 25 years and played an important role in shaping the national conversation and the Church’s response to the sex abuse scandal.
Dr. Sipe passed away last week at his home in La Jolla, CA. He was 85. Before his death, he met twice with Bishop McElroy to discuss the abuse crisis and the Church’s ongoing response. Since those conversations have been referenced in news stories and on social media, Bishop McElroy wanted to make sure the nature and context of those conversations was properly understood.
Here is Bishop McElroy’s statement:
“Shortly after I was appointed Bishop of San Diego, back in early 2016, Dr. Richard Sipe requested that I meet with him to discuss the clergy abuse crisis. We had two long, substantive, cordial and frank discussions about the history of clergy sexual abuse in the United States. In those conversations, Dr. Sipe made allegations against several past and present bishops. He stated that he was in conversation with colleagues and was going to approach the new nuncio, Archbishop Pierre, to discuss these issues and the broader questions involved.
“I shared with Dr. Sipe my concern that some of his information might not be accurate. In two instances we discussed, I had certain knowledge of individuals being investigated and cleared yet he still leveled accusations against them. Dr. Sipe stated that he was making many of his allegations against existing bishops based on information that he had received from his work in legal cases on behalf of survivors of abuse. I asked if he could share this information with me, especially since some of his accusations involved persons still active in the life of the Church and Dr. Sipe was making substantive allegations about their personal misconduct. Dr. Sipe said that he was precluded from sharing specific documentary information that corroborated his claims.
“Two weeks later, in July 2016, Dr. Sipe called and asked for a third meeting. My assistant returned the call and said that I could not meet with him that month. Dr. Sipe subsequently hired a process server to come to my office pretending to be a major donor who would hand his check only to me. I was not in the office that day and the process server eventually turned the package over to my assistant. It contained a letter to me (which has since been published). After I read it, I wrote to Dr. Sipe and told him that his decision to engage a process server who operated under false pretenses, and his decision to copy his letter to me to a wide audience, made further conversations at a level of trust impossible.
“Dr. Sipe made many significant contributions to understanding the dimensions of clergy sexual abuse in the United States and to the assistance of victims. But the limitations on his willingness to share corroborating information made it impossible to know what was real and what was rumor.
“Nevertheless, Dr. Sipe fought for what he believed in and dedicated himself to the service of others. May his soul and souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.”