Diocese of Biloxi Releases Names of Three Clerics Accused of Abuse

Today the Diocese of Biloxi released the names of three clerics that have been "credbily accused" of abuse.

We are grateful that Catholic officials have taken this small and belated step forward by disclosing these names. Some of this information has been kept hidden for years, and its release will provide comfort to victims, or family members of victims, who have been suffering alone and in silence.

However, since the Diocese openly acknowledged that it excluded “alleged abuse reported to have happened outside the Diocese by extern clergy who served in the Diocese, or allegations from before the Diocese was founded in 1977,” the list is incomplete on its face. If Bishop Louis F. Kihneman has information related to other abusers that spent time in the Biloxi Diocese, even if they abused elsewhere, then he should immediately release those names as well. Continued secrecy not only endangers today’s children, it also impedes victims’ healing.

We encourage Biloxi officials to continue to add names to their list. We hope that ultimately it will include all clergy who worked in the Diocese, diocesan, extern and order, as well as brothers, women religious and lay employees. We also suggest that it is inappropriate for Bishop Kihneman to use vague and misleading terms like “misconduct” to describe what was in all cases a crime, and in many cases child rape.

We hope anyone who has suffered, witnessed or suffered crimes by Frs. Jose Vazquez Morales, Jerome J. Axton, Vincent The Quang Nguyen, or any others associated with the Catholic Church in Mississippi will call law enforcement. Victims can also reach out to SNAP, or groups like ours, for help and support as they come forward.

CONTACT: Mark Belenchia, SNAP Mississippi Leader (601-953-2535, [email protected]) ( Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 517-974-9009)

(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)

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant