Journalists Uncover More Hidden Names of Abusers in Texas
Once again, secular journalists have uncovered names of clergy abusers that were not released by Catholic officials themselves. We are grateful to the journalists for diving into this issue and hope that their work will inspire both district attorneys and attorneys general to open investigations into these hidden perpetrators.
KXAN in Austin, TX undertook an investigation into clergy abuse in their state, one year after Catholic officials in dioceses across Texas released their lists of clerics “credibly accused” of abuse. We suspected then that the lists put out by church leaders were incomplete, and the research done by these journalists confirmed those suspicions. Thanks to this report, we now know that there are at least 46 more priests accused of abuse that worked in the state but were not named by Catholic officials.
Sadly, under reporting by church leaders is common. We have seen it with nearly every single list that Catholic officials have released in the past year. Almost every diocese splits hairs in some way, whether by refusing to include clergy from religious orders, refusing to include clergy who abused adults, refusing to include clergy that abused while working in another diocese, or refusing to include clergy that had “only” one accusation.
The simple fact is that the only time parishioners and the public get accurate information about cases of clergy abuse is when journalists or secular officials in law enforcement intervene and undertake investigations. We applaud the team at KXAN for their work and hope that other journalists around the country will begin similar research in their own state. Most importantly, we hope that law enforcement professionals will open investigations like those in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and New Jersey, all of which have resulted in arrests that have kept dangerous men off the streets and created safer, more informed communities.
(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)