Bishop Emeritus Donald Trautman, who was head of the Diocese in the dates recently put into question by Attorney General Josh Shapiro, has released a statement. The statement can be read in full below:
Statement from Bishop Emeritus Donald W. Trautman regarding David Poulson
First, I wish to express my prayerful support for all victims of sexual abuse. I abhor the evil of sexual abuse. Secondly, in relation to the arrest of David Poulson, I wish to emphasize there was no cover-up of sexual abuse. In 2010, I received a fourth-hand allegation about Poulson’s contact with a young adult man. There was no allegation of physical abuse or of contact with a minor. I contacted diocesan counsel. I then immediately tried to contact the young man. There was no response after many attempts of sending letters and telephoning. From the time of the complaint, until I retired, the diocese received no other complaints about David Poulson. Thirdly, I devoted a significant part of my tenure as bishop of the Diocese of Erie to the important issue of abuse within the church.
- I dismissed 22 priests from ministry due to sexual abuse.
- I established the independent Diocesan Review Board to help oversee cases and ensured they were properly handled.
- I played a large role in the development of our policy and procedures regarding sexual abuse when the US bishops established the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
- I hired former FBI agents to review our records.
These facts testify to my vigilance and are a clear indication that I took the problem of sexual abuse seriously and was aggressive in the removal of abusive priests from the service of God’s people. I wish to emphasize again that there was no cover-up. Finally, let us remember the words of St. Boniface that truth can be assaulted, but never defeated.