SPENCER, W.Va. – The Catholic Committee of Appalachia has reported that the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston (DWC) has added a significant number of priests to their previously-published lists of clergy credibly accused of sexual abuse on Tuesday, May 21, 2019, without any sort of announcement to West Virginia Catholics or to the public.
Since the last version of the list, the DWC added seven priests to their list of priests who served in the DWC but who were accused of abuse outside of the diocese. This is in addition to two priests added since the original publication of the list, bringing the total priests on this second list up to 20 from the original 13.
More troubling is the fact that the DWC added two priests to its primary list of priests who have been accused of abuse within the DWC. One priest, Raymond Waldruff, was moved from the secondary list to the primary list, meaning that an accusation from West Virginia was recently reported to the DWC. A second priest, Andrew Lukas, is an entirely new priest who likewise was reported to the DWC within the last several months. The allegations related to both priests date from the 1960-70s. The number of priests on this primary list now stands at 20.
When DWC officials originally released these lists in November 2018, they rightly pledged to continually update these lists, saying “the Diocese reserves the right to update the list should more information become available as time goes on.” We commend the DWC for updating the lists. However, most dioceses who have updated their lists have also issued press releases to alert the public that new names have been added. This level of transparency gives additional comfort to survivors and their allies and encourages more survivors to come forward who haven’t yet felt able to do so.
We are seriously disappointed that the DWC updated these lists quietly without issuing a press release to go with them. It is quite possible that there are additional victims of Waldruff and Lukas from West Virginia, and if so, it is important that they see that these names have been added.
It is no doubt difficult for DWC officials to draw attention to their knowledge of new allegations while the diocese is in the process of responding to multiple lawsuits related to alleged sexual abuse. Nevertheless, we believe that if the DWC wants to show that it cares about victim-survivors, they cannot add names to these lists quietly. Transparency is the only way toward truth and healing.
The DWC lists of credibly accused clergy can be found here: