Diocese of Baton Rouge Releases Names of Accused Priests
We are grateful for this development. Releasing these names publicly is crucial not only for the healing of survivors, but also to encourage victims who may be suffering in silence to come forward and to help deter future clergy sex crimes and cover ups. However, releasing these names is only the first step on the path towards healing and deterrence.
It is notable that Bishop Michael Duca went a step further than many of his brother bishops in ensuring that his list also includes the date that the allegations were first received as well as what action was taken by church officials and when. SNAP has been asking for this kind of transparency.
Yet we still believe that there should be an independent investigation by independent governmental officials into clergy sex abuse and cover ups in Louisiana. We encourage Bishop Duca to continue showing other Catholic officials the right way to do things by personally appealing to Attorney General Jeff Landry to launch an investigation into his diocese and other dioceses in the state. Only trained law enforcement professionals can truly judge when an accusation is “credible” or not and compel full transparency.
The list as released should be permanently included on the diocesan website and run at least quarterly in every parish bulletin. It should also include every single accused church employee: bishops, priests, deacons, seminarians, brothers, nuns and lay people, no matter who supervised or ordained them, and no matter where they originated.
Finally, we encourage anyone who may have suffered, witnessed, or suspected abuse at the hands of Church workers to contact the Louisiana Child Abuse Hotline at 855-452-5437 to make a report, or contact independent support groups like ours.
(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)