Virginia Dioceses Release Lists of Accused Clerics
Two dioceses in Virginia have released their lists of clergy who have been “credibly” accused of abuse. We are grateful for this move but urge further action.
The Diocese of Richmond, VA has released a list of 42 names of clerics who have been accused of sexually abusing children or vulnerable adults. Similarly, the Diocese of Arlington has announced a list of 16 accused clergy.
It is always helpful for survivors when these lists are posted, especially for those who may be suffering in silence. Seeing that they are not alone helps victims heal and could also compel others who were abused – whether by the same person or in the same place – to come forward.
But what is not helpful is when lists are carefully curated to leave off names of priests who have been accused of abuse but whose allegations haven’t been deemed by church officials to be “credible.” We have seen previous cases where accusations have been deemed not credible only for those determinations to have been disastrously wrong.
Sadly, we have already heard from survivors in Virginia whose perpetrator’s name has been omitted.
“The man who abused me was listed on disclosures from both the Diocese of Richmond and the Diocese of Arlington, so I am experiencing some healing and validation,” said Becky Ianni, a survivor and SNAP leader from Virginia. “At the same time, I know there are other victims who are feeling angry, upset and disbelieved when they see their perpetrator left off, and I am saddened that instead of feeling validated, they are feeling re-victimized.”
We urge catholic officials in Virginia to not only go back to these lists and add any names that may have been omitted, but also to add work histories, information about current whereabouts and, critically, when the diocese first learned of the allegations and what their immediate response was. Only by including this information can we get a clearer picture of what went wrong in Virginia and what must be done now to protect children and prevent abuse.
(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)
50 State AG Call for Grand Jury
Any investigation must be:
- independent of and separate from the church
- must have subpoena powers and ability to compel testimony under oath
Anything short of these criteria is a sham and whitewash.
In addition, write letters to the editor, make phone calls to politicians as they can apply pressure to keep them responsive to our demand. We need to make efforts to ensure that they follow up on what the state is doing to investigate these crimes.
The Attorneys General of forty states have inquired about the grand jury process in Pennsylvania. Let's get statewide investigations going in fifty states.
Note to Letter Writers
Use your own words and style of writing. Cut and paste from the templates as you wish. Include your experiences, whether as a survivor or as a member of the community. And relate your letter to the state you were abused in or state now living in.