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Archbishop pledges higher standards for clergy

Parish demands transparency after sex scandal
Posted at 5:25 PM, Oct 26, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-26 18:28:17-04

Many parishioners at St. Wenceslaus are closely watching the archdiocese after two victims came forward to accuse a priest of sexual assault.

Police investigated the most recent incident but didn't pursue criminal charges. The church told 3 News Now the incidents in question did happen, which is now leaving many Catholics questioning why they're just now hearing about it.

As Archbishop George Lucas promises to review current clergy assignments and procedures the archdiocese has in place, church officials say several things contributed to the fallout over Fr. Francis Nigli.


"I think what did not work - what happened - was he made the decision to offend again," said Tim McNeil, chancellor for the Omaha archdiocese.


After parishioners gathered at St. Wenceslaus Thursday evening with the archbishop, many demands still loom over the church beginning with why didn't they know church officials dismissed Nigli over sexual assault allegations involving two men.


McNeil re-iterated the archbishop's commitment to tackling procedures for reports of misconduct beyond minors.


"Now, how are we going to address allegations or misbehaviors that has to do with adults?" he said.


It's been so much on children [and] rightly so, McNeil said, but now it has to involve adult misconduct in today's culture and climate.


Additionally, scrutiny looms over the archdiocese over why did church officials believe Nigli should be reassigned to another parish after the first known complaint in 2013.


A review board allowed Nigli to return to ministry after he completed six months of therapy in Maryland, church officials said.


Many wonder should officials reconsider this protocol, which McNeil says is also under careful review.


"On a case by case basis that will be evaluated - absolutely," he said. " If it was a severe and moral transgression it would not be wise to transfer a priest."


As for when parishioners can expect to see the new guidelines in place by the archbishop, McNeil said within the next couple of months or so.