Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse have been helped by a little-known nonprofit based in Michigan for nearly two decades, The Associated Press reported Monday.
Opus Bono Sacerdotii has reportedly provided money, shelter, transport, legal help and other support to hundreds, maybe thousands, of priests accused of sexual abuse, according to the report.
The AP uncovered several cases of the nonprofit stepping in to provide assistance when accusations against priests came up.
A serial pedophile who was sent to jail for abusing dozens of minors once helped with regular visits and commissary cash from Opus Bono.
The group raised funds for the defense of one priest who admitted to sexually assaulting boys under 14.
Another priest, who was criminally charged with abusing a teen, was made a legal adviser to the group.
The AP found that while high ranking members of the church condemn sexual abuse publicly, many of them arranged the meetings, offered blessings or quietly sent checks to the organization that provided support to alleged abusers.
The in-depth investigation into Opus Bono comes as the Catholic church continues to reckon with new waves of abuse accusations.
Scrutiny of abuse within the church has heightened since a Pennsylvania grand jury in August detailed hundreds of cases of alleged abuse.
More than 140 religious orders and Roman Catholic dioceses have released similar lists, and more than 100 of those have been updated since Pennsylvania's.
Opus Bono says it focuses on what it considers the neglected victims of abuse — priests and the church itself.
“All of these people that have made allegations are very well taken care of,” group co-founder Joe Maher said in a radio interview found by the AP, contending that many abuse accusations lodged against priests are false. “The priests are not at all very well taken care of.”
The Hill has reached out to Opus Bono for comment on the AP's report.