Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director, 617-669-7810
April 25, 2011—DignityUSA released this statement today from its president, Mark Matson:
“In recent days, Dignity USA has assisted Dignity Dayton and its Living Beatitudes Community in investigating a recent complaint against Ellis Harsham, a laicized Catholic priest who has led worship in their community once a month.
“In the course of this investigation, DignityUSA has formally learned from the Archdiocese of Cincinnati that there is a substantiated claim of sexual abuse against Mr. Harsham. He will no longer serve as a leader at Living Beatitudes or any other community associated with DignityUSA. We have no reason to believe that any child associated with Dignity Dayton has been harmed.
“We support Dignity Dayton’s work to implement safe church guidelines and training at Living Beatitudes and urge all of our affiliated chapters to follow DignityUSA policy by doing the same. The safety of families and children is essential to DignityUSA’s mission and ministry, and our longstanding policy on abuse prevention is unambiguous. DignityUSA leaders are available to consult with any of our affiliated chapters that need assistance in implementing safe church practices and programs. We have directed all of our Chapters to review the policy with their leadership, to check on the status of their presiders, and to notify us immediately if there are questions about potential charges against anyone who leads Chapter worship.”