The Diocese of Youngstown Releases Names of Accused Priests
The Diocese of Youngstown publicly named 31 priests that have been removed from their duties due to “credible” allegations of sexual abuse.
In a news release, Bishop George Murray clarified that a “credible” allegation is one “that, after a thorough investigation and review of available information, appears more likely true than not in the judgment of the Diocesan Review Board, and is accepted as credible by the bishop.” While we’re glad that church officials have taken this first step, we believe that they must take two other steps immediately to show that they are being fully open and honest about the extent of abuse in their diocese.
First, Bishop Murray and other officials in Ohio should urge an independent investigation by their attorney general to dig into diocesan records and do a full review of all personnel files and abuse records. Only independent law enforcement professionals can truly determine when an allegation is “credible” or not, especially given that we have seen church officials deem accusations not credible only to be proven horribly wrong later.
Second, Bishop Murray should publicize this list permanently on the diocesan website and run it at least quarterly in every parish bulletin. It should include every single proven, admitted and credibly accused church employee: bishops, priests, seminarians, brothers, nuns and lay people, no matter who supervised or ordained them, and no matter where they originated. In this list, Bishop Murray should also put by each name the date when he or his staff first learned of the allegation against that priest. It is important for accountability to find out who knew what, when they knew it, and what they chose to do with that information. By taking these steps, Bishop Murray can show that he is dedicated to the full truth. To do otherwise is a half-measure.
(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.