The visiting priests arrived discreetly, day and night. Stripped of their collars and cassocks, they went unnoticed in the tiny Midwestern town of Dryden, Mich., as they were escorted into a dingy warehouse across from an elementary school playground. They had been brought to town by a small nonprofit group called Opus Bono Sacerdotii. For nearly two decades, the group operated out of a series of unmarked buildings in rural Michigan, providing money, shelter, transport, legal help, and other support to hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse across the country. The AP unraveled the continuing story of Opus Bono in dozens of interviews with experts, lawyers, clergy members, and former employees, along with hundreds of pages of documents obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests. Standout findings:
- Opus Bono established itself as a counterpoint to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests and other groups that have accused the church of trying to cover up the scandal and failing to support victims of clergy misconduct. Opus Bono focuses on what it considers the neglected victims: priests, and the church itself.