Diocese of Tulsa Releases List of Accused Priests

The Diocese of Tulsa today released a list of accused priests. This list is a bare minimum effort to get needed information into the hands of the public.

The list today released by church officials in Tulsa is woefully lacking in necessary information to better protect children and support survivors. The list contains only names, dates of ordination, and current status.

Nowhere does it include the work history of each abuser, critical information that informs communities where these men served to look within their own ranks for signs of ongoing grooming, abuse, or still-suffering survivors.

Nowhere does it include the headshots or whereabouts of each of the accused. These other details are important because that information helps victims identify the clerics who assaulted them. It usually takes decades for survivors to come forward. They might only recall that everyone called the priest "Father Mac," not knowing whether he was Fr. Mack Smith or Fr. McGillicuty or Fr. MacArthur. Even parents who are long-time parishioners may have trouble remembering a priest who may have worked in their church just a few months before mysteriously vanishing with no explanation or a vague explanation from the diocesan hierarchy.

And most importantly, nowhere does it contain information related to when church officials in Tulsa received allegations against each named person nor what actions those officials took upon learning of the allegations. In order to ensure that future crimes are prevented and that cover-ups are exposed, it is important to know who knew what, when they knew it, and what they did in response.

We also cannot help but notice that this report claims an abuser rate of 2%, a number that is dramatically lower than most national figures. According to compiled research, the USCCB itself estimates that nearly 6% of all priests active between 1950 to 2016 were abusers, and reports by secular officials have much higher percentages, often between 8 and 10%. Based off this research, we believe that there are likely more cases of abuse within Tulsa that were not counted in this report.

Ultimately, this list represents a bare minimum effort towards transparency. We hope that secular law enforcement officials in Oklahoma are looking closely at this report and will follow up with an investigation of their own, this time aided by subpoena power and the ability to compel testimony under oath. Based on the list we saw released today, an investigation from A.G. Mike Hunter will be the best way for parishioners and the public to learn the full scope of clergy abuse in Tulsa.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 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)

 


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