NEWARK — The Roman Catholic archbishop of Newark has issued a scathing rebuke to his critics, blasting them as ‘‘evil, wrong, immoral’’ for questioning his handling of an allegation of sex abuse in his previous diocese in Illinois.
In a letter to clergy, Archbishop John J. Myers defends himself in the case of a man who sued the Diocese of Peoria, Ill., which Myers helmed from 1990 to 2001. In a 2010 deposition that a lawyer for the accuser recently released, Myers said he did not know of other allegations against Monsignor Thomas Maloney. The diocese of Peoria reached a $1.35 million settlement in the case this month.
The deposition said diocesan correspondence recorded one allegation of abuse and another of inappropriate behavior against Maloney, but Myers said they may have been lost in the diocese’s slipshod filing system. Myers said he was not alerted to the allegations and did not see them when reviewing Maloney’s files while recommending him for a promotion in 2000.
‘‘At no time was I ever aware that some people thought him to be a threat to children or young people,’’ Myers wrote, noting the case was brought to the attention of the Diocese of Peoria in 2007, years after he left.
He reserved his harshest words for his most vocal critics.
‘‘For any who set out to claim that I or the Church have had no effective part in the love and protection of children is simply evil, wrong, immoral, and seemingly focused on their own self-aggrandizement,’’ Myers wrote.