Diocese of Des Moines Posts List of Clergy Accused of Abuse, SNAP Urges Further Outreach
We are grateful that the Diocese of Des Moines has published a list of clergy accused of abuse. This move is the first step that church officials in Des Moines can take towards protecting children in their diocese and helping survivors heal.
Now that they have taken this first step, we call on Bishop Richard Pates to take several more in order to demonstrate his commitment to transparency, accountability, and prevention.
First, Bishop Pates should include on his list the names of not only diocesan priests, but also those of religious order priests and nuns who have been accused of abuse – whether in Des Moines or elsewhere – and spent time in his diocese.
Second, Bishop Pates should also update his list to include information regarding when church officials at the Diocese of Des Moines first received the allegations against each named person and what actions they took in response to those allegations. Only by knowing what went wrong in the past can we know how to improve for the future and prevent future cases of child sexual abuse.
Third, now that this list has been published, Bishop Pates should personally visit each parish where these accused priests served, notify parishioners about the list, and urge victims, witnesses, and whistleblowers to come forward and make a report to police and prosecutors.
And finally, if he is confident in the veracity of his list, Bishop Pates should personally urge Iowa’s attorney general to follow in the footsteps of 17 other attorneys general around the country and open an independent investigation into clergy sex abuse in Iowa.
(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)