Diocese responds to sexual abuse lawsuit involving St. Francis Xavier priest

News Press, Fort Myers/April 29, 2010

The Diocese of Venice released the following statement regarding the allegations against the Rev. Thomas Anglim:

"In August 2008 Mr. Jimmy Wilkins approached the Diocese of Venice in Florida with an allegation against Father Thomas Anglim which is alleged to have taken place in 1967 at St. Francis Xavier Parish in Fort Myers.

Immediately the allegation was presented to the Diocesan Review Board. The Review Board is a consulting body for the Bishop which deals with cases of sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults and consists of laypersons and one member of the clergy. The Review Board spoke with Mr. Wilkins during a formal review of the information available. The Diocese then offered Mr. Wilkins counseling and pastoral care which was accepted by Mr. Wilkins.

At the time of the allegation, Father Anglim was in retirement which he had entered on Oct. 15, 2004. Further, at the time he was no longer physically capable of caring for himself, nor was he any longer able to speak. Father Anglim died Jan. 19, 2010.

Throughout this period, to the present time, the Diocese of Venice has supported the counseling for Mr. Wilkins.

Before the allegation was made by Mr. Wilkins in 2008, and since that time, the Diocese of Venice has not received any claims against Father Anglim. However, in late 2008 a letter was read at all Masses at St. Francis Xavier Parish which included the following: "Anyone who believes that he or she has been sexually abused by any other person connected with the Diocese of Venice in Florida or any organization should either contact law enforcement officials or the individual responsible for victim assistance in the Diocese of Venice in Florida."

The Diocese has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct against minors and has a system in place to ensure a safe environment in churches, schools and other Diocesan entities. This policy conforms to the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People established by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

To see more documents/articles regarding this group/organization/subject click here.