SNAP responds: Wheeling-Charleston diocese release accused names of clerics

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has announced that they will release the names of "credibly" accused priests in their diocese. While SNAP is grateful that yet another diocese will be releasing the names of those they have found to be "credibly accused," we believe that this should have been done years ago. We also hope that the list will include those who have had allegations of abusing vulnerable adults, such as former head of the Diocese, Bishop Michael J. Bransfield.

Hopefully the West Virginia attorney general will be investigating the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese. He should subpoena all the "secret archives" of these entities and also set up a hot line for victims to call, just as was done in Pennsylvania. As we have seen in places like Buffalo, church officials cannot be trusted to release all the records they have. Outside law enforcement needs to get involved.

The list should be kept permanently on the Diocesan website and run at least quarterly in every parish bulletin. It should include every single proven, admitted and "credibly accused" church employee: bishops, priests, seminarians, brothers, nuns, and lay people, no matter who supervised or ordained them or where the abuse took place.

Parents, parishioners, police prosecutors and the public should ask two questions about every name. When did the Diocese first learn she/he was accused, and why the secrecy of decades, years, months or weeks before this crucial information was released?

CONTACT: Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Regional Leader, (636-433-2511, [email protected], Zach Hiner, Executive Director ([email protected], 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 

SNAP Network is a GuideStar Gold Participant