August 26, 2011 by USA Post
Boston Archdiocese, The Archdiocese of Boston on Thursday released a partial list of clergy accused of sexual abuse, almost a decade after an abuse scandal erupted therein by priests and revelations that the archdiocese had been protecting abusers years.
Advocacy groups for victims have long pressed the archdiocese released the list, a step that a number of other dioceses have already taken. Cardinal Sean P. O’Malley first suggested in 2009 that he would publish a list, officials of the diocese, said this week it had taken two years to get the necessary feedback and weigh complicated matters such as due process rights of priests whose cases had not been fully satisfied.
In an open letter, Cardinal O’Malley said he decided to publish a list of 132 priests and two deacons, “after serious and thoughtful consideration and prayer.” They are the priests that the church or the courts have convicted of sexually abusing a child, others who left the priesthood before or after allegations of abuse and dead priests have been publicly accused of abuse.
The list, published in a database on the website of the diocese’s 22 diocesan priests who remain current on administrative leave while their cases are investigated.
Moreover, Cardinal O’Malley has included 25 priests who were publicly accused of molesting children, but for the archdiocese found the accusations baseless.
“My deepest hope and prayer is that the efforts I am announcing today will give some extra comfort and healing for people who have suffered sexual abuse by clergy,” Cardinal O’Malley said in the letter.
The names of 91 diocesan priests additional defendants have not been listed. They include 62 dead priests who have not been publicly accused and 22, mostly still alive, have not been publicly accused and could not prove that they have abused children. Cardinal O’Malley also chose not to publish the names of the clergy who belong to religious orders or other dioceses who were accused of sexual abuse while working in the Archdiocese of Boston. He said it was the responsibility of their orders or diocese to do so, an explanation that angered victims’ advocates. Victims’ groups say at least 70 members of the clergy had been accused, including some believed to have had multiple victims.
“This is blatant deceit,” said Barbara Blaine, president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
Besides the names of accused priests, Cardinal O’Malley list includes the year of each computer and if he is alive. For priests who live, which includes information on whether the prosecution has been confirmed or are still under investigation. There are links to the stories of assigning each accused priest, said the Rev. Richard M. Erikson, vicar general of the archdiocese.
“Everything has been in the public domain,” said Father Erikson. “But in terms of a systematic list, this is the first time we have consolidated the information in an easy to use.”
The database does not include photographs or details of the allegations.
Some groups of the victims said that the list is commendable, but misguided, partly because they do not include religious order priests or the names that were not in the public domain.
“If the goal were really O’Malley to reach as many victims as possible and protect as many children as possible, have released the longest list possible today,” said Anne Barrett Doyle, co -director of BishopAccountability.org, which tracks the records of abuse.
Father Erikson said Cardinal O’Malley consult with an advisory board of lay people, priests, survivors and others before deciding which names to include. About 30 dioceses, including the Archdiocese of Chicago, Los Angeles and Philadelphia have already published the names of accused priests.
Cardinal O’Malley, who replaced Cardinal Bernard Law in 2003, has spent much of his term trying to restore faith in a church shaken by the abuse scandal. Diocesan officials stressed that even before the publication of the list, Cardinal O’Malley had launched a series of procedures designed to prevent sexual abuse and help victims heal.
David Clohessy, national director of Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, said that while the list was “useful,” leaving people confused about whether many of the priests in it – those who have not been officially convicted – were the predators.
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