Archdiocese of Los Angeles Adds 54 Names to its List of Accused Priests
For immediate release: December 6, 2018
Today, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles updated their list of priests accused of sexual misconduct against children and vulnerable adults. We’re grateful that the Archdiocese has made these disclosures, but dismayed that reports of sexual violence continue to be handled in-house.
According to the Archdiocese, one reason they chose to release this update is because this new list “includes names that were not previously announced because the allegation was plausible but could not be corroborated.” They also admit that there are other persons in their Archdiocese who have been accused but whose names have been withheld because their oversight board could not corroborate the accusations. This is an excellent example of why we call for independent investigations by law enforcement. Bishops, priests, and other church staff are trained to be spiritual counselors, not criminal investigators. It should not be up to the diocese to determine when an allegation of abuse is credible; rather all allegations should be made to police so that professional investigators can do their job and investigate crimes.
Making matters worse, this update added a total of 54 names to their original list. This means that church officials in Los Angeles kept secret the names of more than 50 accused priests, sometimes for as long as a decade. Such secrecy serves no one but the church itself.
To us, this release from the Archdiocese of Los Angeles is yet another example of an institution trying and failing to adequately police itself. We hope that California Attorney General Xavier Becerra will launch an investigation into the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and all other dioceses in his state. Between today’s announcement, past failures to take abuse claims seriously bubbling back up into the news, and independent reporting that showed serious discrepancies in other diocesan lists, we believe that intervention by independent law enforcement officials is desperately needed in California.
We hope that others who may have seen, suspected, or suffered sex abuse in the Los Angeles area will call local law enforcement to make a report and we encourage those may be suffering in silence to come forward, make a report, find support services, and start healing.
(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)