SNAP is appalled at 'Nameless List' by the Diocese of Worcester

(For Immediate Release February 7, 2023)

The Diocese of Worcester announced this past Friday that it had found 173 accusations of child sexual abuse "credible," after reviewing 209 abuse reports from 1950, when the Diocese was founded, and 2022. The report does not include information about clergy who abused within the territory of the Diocese before 1950, thus automatically providing an incomplete count of the number of perpetrators who worked in the schools and parishes now under the control of Bishop Robert McManus.  Moreover, unlike similar reports released by other dioceses, the names of the clergy who were found to have committed these crimes were not included. SNAP is appalled at this blatant lack of concern for survivors, the faithful, and the public which is shown by this omission.

The lists released by other dioceses and religious orders, particularly those that are easy to find and access, provide a simple method for people to check to see if a cleric has been accused, and if the accusation has been deemed "credible" by the diocese. Contrary to Bishop McManus' suggestion, it would be next to impossible for most victims to know where to look for this information on his website. The simple act of "official" validation a list provides can be extremely healing for victims. It may also give answers to family members who lost someone to suicide or drug addiction. In addition, a list provides the means to check for missing names. Survivors or the relatives of victims will easily know if they need to make a report to the Diocese, thereby increasing information about the true extent of abuse. Finally, if a cleric is too dangerous to work in a parish or school, then he is also too dangerous to have living among unsuspecting neighbors. Lists provide a warning for the general public as well.





We would also like to address the assertion in the Diocesan report that there has been a "dramatic reduction in occurrences of abuse over the past three decades." We have no reason to dispute the claim that 96% of the accusations included in the report are for abuse suffered before 1990. However, we note that delayed disclosure is the rule, not the exception, for survivors of child sexual abuse. Science tells us that the average age at the time of reporting child sexual abuse is around 52 years. What does that mean? Very simply, it is quite likely that we have not yet heard from those assaulted after 1990, and may not hear from them for many years.

To us, until hierarchs like Bishop McManus “come clean” about all the perpetrators in their dioceses -- bishops, priests, and deacons -- parishioners can only look up from the pews to the altar and wonder if the mass celebrants may be a threat to their children.  It seems clear to us that it is the duty of the diocesan bishop to warn parishioners and the public about the accused, whether dead or alive. Parents, among both the faithful and the public, can better safeguard their children if they are aware of the names and whereabouts of the perpetrators. Survivors and the relatives of victims also have a better chance of healing when they see the abuser's name acknowledged and published by the Church.

We also wonder at Bishop McManus' assertion that “Such lists can be a cause for deep division among many members of our Church who see this as publicly branding as guilty those who never have been charged by law enforcement or had a chance to defend themselves in a court of law, given the fact that many decades have passed between the alleged abuse and the reporting of that abuse, or because they were already deceased when the allegation was first received.” It seems to us that this is where the Bishop has an opportunity to show leadership and provide guidance to his flock. The fact is that some of these older accusations never reached a court of law because, prior to 2002, the reports were hidden deep within Church records and not reported to secular authorities. 

We call on Bishop McManus to exhibit leadership and transparency and update parishioners and the public with the names and whereabouts of the clergy in his Diocese who have been found to have hurt children. By exposing these offenders, Catholics may move ahead, the Church will become a safer place, and future cover-ups will be less likely. 

CONTACT: Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager ([email protected] 267-261-0578) 

(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


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