Per Sister Rita Mary Harwood SND, the letter below is a response to the questions generated at the Parish Prayer Service and Meeting regarding Fr. Tony’s status.
Due to confusion regarding the status of Fr. Tony Schuerger, the Diocese of Cleveland has provided the following clarification regarding his status:
Fr. Schuerger is NOT at this time included on the list of clerics against whom have been made a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse. At this point, the allegation made against him has only been subject to an initial assessment by the diocese’s Review Board. Having just recently completed its initial assessment, the Review Board advised Bishop Perez that the allegation has at least a semblance of truth and should be more fully investigated. Pursuant to diocesan policy, if a cleric is accused of sexually abusing a child and that allegation has at least the semblance of truth, that cleric is placed on administrative leave and a full investigation is conducted. This leave is an administrative measure and not a punishment, as the allegation at this stage has not been substantiated.
It is important to understand that if an allegation has the “semblance of truth” it simply means that it is at least possible that the allegation could be true and that it is not obviously false from the outset. In light of this, it would not be appropriate at this time to make a judgment one way or another about Fr. Schuerger or the allegation that has been made against him.
At this time, we simply ask you to pray for all those who have been abused by clerics, for Fr. Schuerger, and for the Review Board as it begins its full investigation of the allegation against him.
Kevin T. Burke
Diocese of Cleveland Legal Office
1404 East Ninth St. – Suite 701
Cleveland, OH 44114
Tel: 216-696-6525, x-4360 / Fax: 216-781-7732