Press Release - Regarding Fr. Lawrence Johnson's Case
I was very distressed to learn that Fr. Lawrence Johnson was convicted of aggravated sexual assault on a minor. I deeply sympathize with the victim and the family. No one should be made to go through such a trauma. I ask pardon that a representative of the Church, appointed to be in charge of the community, was responsible for this.
As the case has been concluded in the Courts, I am recommending to the Roman Offices that the canonical proceedings which were suspended due to the ongoing hearings be now resumed. As I was leaving for Rome hours after the complaint, an Auxiliary Bishop was delegated to supervise the hearings, contact the police and keep in touch with the family. Our records show that the Church hearings began the very next day after the complaint was filed, Fr. Lawrence was arrested the same night, and the priests were asked to meet the family.
It would also be pertinent to record that several invitations by my Secretary to the victim’s parents to discuss assistance to the victim got no positive response. This invitation still stands. The Dean and the newly appointed Parish Priest also attempted to reach out to the family. Perhaps it would be relevant to record that only recently the victim was admitted to one of our Institutions at the intervention of our Office.
I continue to pray for the victim and the family. I understand their pain, anguish and anger. I wish that they will experience healing and peace. I also pray for Fr. Lawrence Johnson.
December 31, 2021 + Oswald Cardinal Gracias
Archbishop of Bombay