A Roman Catholic dioceses from Pennsylvania has released a massive list of clergy and other church-affiliated figures that have been accused of sexually abusing children.
The list released by the bishop of the Diocese of Harrisburg stretches back to the 1940s. Included on the list are 71 clergy and seminarians, 37 of whom are priests, three deacons, six seminarians, and 16 others from religious communities that have all been accused of sexually abusing children. The diocese also cautioned that those named in the report were not necessarily guilty.
The full list of names released can be found here.
The report explained, “The term ‘accused’ is emphasized to note that the list below includes summations of accusations; the list does not include assessments of credibility or guilt.”
In a statement made by Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the central Pennsylvania diocese, an apology was made to those who had been abused and also to the general public for the behavior.
“I express our profound sorrow and apologize to the survivors of child sex abuse, the Catholic faithful and the general public for the abuses that took place and for those church officials who failed to protect children.”
An interim grand jury report this month is expected to be released by Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court on sexual abuse in six Pennsylvania dioceses. Some of those being named as abusers have requested their names be temporarily redacted to protect their identities, to which the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has agreed.
“I wish to emphasize that this list is a list of accusations; we did not make assessments of credibility or guilt in creating this list,” the Bishop said.
Bishop Ronald Gainer said he has adopted a “zero-tolerance policy” regarding any form of sexual abuse of a minor during his time at the diocese, and all accused priests have been removed and reported to law enforcement.
“I am saddened because I know that behind every story is the face of a child precious in God’s sight; a child who has been wounded by the sins of those who should have known better,” said Gainer.
The release of the list was in response to an order from the Pennsylvania Supreme Court along with the release of a 900-page grand jury report about clergy sex abuse in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued a statement following the court order where he states he will “continue to fight to ensure every single victim is heard and every priest, bishop, and church official is held accountable for their abhorrent conduct.”
Shapiro added, “”No one victim’s truth is any less important than another and no one’s criminal conduct any less loathsome. Today is a victory for the survivors but our work is not yet done.”
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