Cardinal Donald Wuerl has been lauded as a church leader who fights against child sex abuse. He worked to remove one abusive priest from the church for seven years, traveling all the way to Rome to persuade the Vatican to keep him out.
Despite his work, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, a nonprofit support group of survivors of clergy sexual abuse and their supporters, says he hasn't done enough. The group is speaking out against Cardinal Wuerl for his lack of action around child sex abuse in the church.
David Clohessy, director of the group, says there are two instances where they believe Cardinal Wuerl should have done more.
"In each case, these are serial predators," says Clohessy. "We begged Cardinal Wuerl to use his diocesan website and newspaper and parish bulletin announcement to help find others who were injured by these priests."
The group says Cardinal Wuerl refused to help warn families in West Virginia about a former priest accused of child molestation in his Pittsburg dioceses working as a counselor.
Clohessy says he's also particularly troubled about the lack of action in 2010, when a priest convicted of child molestation in the District before Cardinal Wuerl came to town, was found working on a government housing panel and living in publicly financed housing in Maine.
"We said to Cardinal Wuerl he's hurt people, he's hurt Catholic kids in your jurisdiction," says Clohessy. "He's not behind bars; we believe he's still a threat."
The group has listed Cardinal Wuerl and 11 other papal candidates as the "Dirty Dozen" for their public comments and action around child sex abuse and covering it up.
A spokesperson for Cardinal Wuerl declined to comment.