President of the Belize Council of Churches, Bishop Philip Wright has said that if any credible allegation of sexual abuse against a member of clergy turns out to be true, it would be outrageous, and would impact the Church tremendously because of the role that the Church plays in our society.
While he did not comment on the claim of sexual abuse that has come against Catholic Priest, Fr Oliver Smalls – noting that is an allegation – Bishop Wright told the Reporter today that there has to be zero tolerance in the Church for abuse of any kind, particularly when it has to do with abuse of children and the vulnerable. “When it comes to the Church, it does seem particularly revolting, seeing that the very one we are following has some of the strongest warnings against those who abuse children.”
Bishop Wright said the Council will likely discuss coming up with a Policy on how to deal with matters of this nature when it meets this Friday.
With respect to a press release which Catholic Bishop, Lawrence Nicasio issued on Monday on the allegation against Fr Smalls, the accused Priest has through his attorney, Leeroy Banner vehemently denied the allegation, demanded that the Catholic Church refrain from issuing “baseless publications”, and retract the press release. It also stated that Fr Smalls is in the process of determining legal recourse to maintain his good name and reputation.