A Pennsylvania priest named in a sex abuse report spent time in Charleston in the 90’s.
The report reveals Father Robert Spangenberg was involved with at least two children while in Pennsylvania before coming to the Lowcountry.
According to the document, a mother informed the diocese and vatican her son was abused by Spangenberg in the 80’s.
Following an investigation, he was reassigned to a retirement home in Florida.
Then, 1990-1992, father Spangenberg served as priest at St. Patrick Catholic church in Charleston. In 2009, an alleged victim reported Spangerberg also sexually abused him as a teenager.
The Catholic Diocese of Charleston released this statement:
“Although the diocese is closed today for the Holy Feast Day of the Assumption, and a more thorough record search will be undertaken, what the Diocese has been able to confirm today is that Father Robert Spangenberg served as a priest at St. Patrick Catholic Church from 1990-1992. He was a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans).
To the best of our knowledge, there is no record of any allegations of misconduct made against Father Spangenberg while he was assigned to the parish.
The Diocese of Charleston encourages all victims, including any of Father Spangenberg, to contact civil authorities. Additionally, those who have knowledge of any sexual misconduct by Father Spangenberg, or by any Church personnel, should contact civil authorities in their area. To receive help and guidance from the diocese, please contact Louisa Storen, victim assistance coordinator, at 800-921-8122.
The Most Reverend Robert E. Guglielmone, Bishop of Charleston, asks everyone to pray for all victims of abuse and for their families.”
And, Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone sent a letter to the people of the Diocese of Charleston, which encompasses the entire state of South Carolina. In it, he addresses the failures of the Church to appropriately respond to allegations of child sexual abuse.
“Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Anger, shame, sorrow and grief – that is what I feel in the face of the sins committed by so many bishops and priests. I find it truly sickening and heartbreaking to know that children and adults have been betrayed and harmed by clergy and Church leaders whom they trusted. I join other bishops in apologizing for what we “have done and failed to do.” This is a grave sin.
Countless clergy and laity across the United States are horrified by the news reports in the last several weeks, especially this past week. I fully understand that you have lost trust in the leadership of the Church. We are all horrified and humiliated that far too many bishops and priests, who were consecrated to God by solemn promises and the anointing of the Holy Spirit, have betrayed the grace of their ordination and failed to live as faithful disciples of the Lord Jesus. This has been done in ways that have seriously injured innocent young lives and the faithful of God. However, for Christians, anger, shame and disgust should never have the last word.
Now is a time for contrite, heartfelt confession and a firm commitment to make amends and reparation for our sins. This begins with repentance and begging forgiveness from God, and receiving His forgiveness with the intent to go forth and sin no more.
To all who have suffered sexual abuse at the hands of predatory priests and complicit bishops, I am profoundly sorry. We have failed you and you were robbed of your childhood. By coming forward you have enabled others to know that they are not alone in their anguish. You have awakened the Church and in doing so have protected, and will protect, many other children from this horror.
To all whose faith has been undermined, I share your outrage and feelings of betrayal. I humbly ask your forgiveness. I need your help so that we can move forward together as the Body of Christ.”