Catholic diocese appoints review board

Sunday, August 18th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

On the heels of sexual allegations involving Catholic priests in Tulsa the diocese has appointed a review board to look into claims of abuse by clergy.

Bishop Edward Slattery detailed past allegations against Ken Lewis, Paul Eicchoff and John Jangam in a monthly newsletter to area Catholics, he also reiterated how the church handled claims of misconduct with young parishioners.

The local review board will investigate allegations and help develop diocesan policy.

Review Board member Charles Eckelt says it's important to remember a person is innocent until proven guilty.

"Because as you can imagine this is a very serious topic that affects the person's lifestyle especially if they're a teacher or a priest, and if it is found to be not warranted, then we would also like that to be well-known as well."

Joining Eckelt on the board are:
John Donnelly, a Tulsa attorney.
Patrick Gaalas, pastor at St. Benedict Church.
John Gaberino, ONEOK.
Former Mayor Robert LaFortune.
Mark Sadler, a psychologist.
Stan Swagerty, who is in law enforcement.
Cathy Webster, Pryor school teacher.

Bishop Edward Slattery says the diocese is committed to a policy of openness. Lewis, Eicchoff and Jangam have not been charged with any crimes.