Bishops in California release names of accused predator priests, SNAP responds

Bishops from the Catholic dioceses in California have announced their intentions to release lists of names of priests accused of sexual abuse. So far, the Dioceses of Sacramento, Oakland, San Jose and San Bernardino have said they will be releasing names.

We’re glad that the bishops are releasing names but the fact remains that each one of these bishops have had the power to release these names for years. It is hard to believe that they are doing so now out of goodwill. We cannot help but feel that this is a belated move done in response to public pressure that has been rising since the bombshell Pennsylvania grand jury report.

Additionally, if these lists are to carry any weight, they should be determined by independent investigators, not by church staff. Trained law enforcement professionals should be in charge of investigating who knew what, when they knew it, and what a credible accusation of abuse looks like. As we have recently seen in Buffalo, we cannot count on church officials to release all records that they have.

When the bishops do release these names, we believe that each bishop should also put by each name the date when he or his staff first learned of the allegation against that priest. We strongly suspect most bishops have hidden these names for years. We also believe that these lists should be permanently and prominently posted on diocesan and parish websites and should include the current or last known address of each accused person – whether living or dead, religious order or diocesan, along with accused seminarians, bishops, nuns, brothers and lay employees.

CONTACT: Esther Hatfield Miller, SNAP Southern California Leader (estherhatfield@yahoo.com, (562) 673-9442)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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