.- Cardinal Sean O'Malley has released an online list of the names of priests in the Archdiocese of Boston who have been accused of sex abuse within the last 60 years.
“The archdiocese is continually evaluating its policies and practices to ensure that our child protection and abuse prevention efforts are further strengthened,” the cardinal wrote in an Aug. 25 letter explaining his decision.
“Consistent with that effort, I have studied suggestions that we enhance the present Archdiocesan policy with respect to sharing information about clergy accused of sexually abusing minors.”
Cardinal O'Malley said that although 248 of Boston's priests and two deacons have been accused of child sex abuse since 1950, he decided against releasing 91 of the names.
These included deceased priests who weren't publicly accused, those working in Boston under religious orders or other dioceses and those accused in unsubstantiated accusations that never went public.
The Boston archbishop explained his reasons for not including the names of those clergy members, saying that not “only must the archdiocese honor its commitment to protect children, it must also be mindful of the due process concerns of those whose guilt has not been established.”
He added that is the case of deceased priests whose cases had never been investigated, “there is, by definition, no consideration relating to child protection, and the countervailing considerations related to due process and protecting reputations become more substantial.”
Cardinal O'Malley said that including the names of priests whose accusations could not be substantiated would be “unfair” to the clergy members, given that “civil or Church processes have already found the allegations against them to be unsubstantiated.”
Also not included on the list are any members of religious orders accused of sexually abusing minors outside the archdiocese, since the archdiocese “does not determine the outcome in such cases.”
The searchable list was released on the archdiocesan website BostonCatholic.org on Aug. 25 and included the names of the accused clerics, their year of birth, their year of ordination, whether they are laicized, dismissed or convicted and a link to the cleric's assignment history.
The list of clergy members is divided into five categories, including those who have been found guilty of sexually abusing a child by Church or civil authorities and those who have been laicized after being accused.
Other categories include priests who have been accused but whose canonical investigations are still pending and those who have been publicly accused but who were already laicized prior to the archdiocese receiving the abuse allegations
The list also shows clergy members who have been publicly accused of abuse of a minor but whose canonical or criminal proceedings have not been completed due to the cleric's death.
“Having met with hundreds of survivors, I know firsthand the scars you carry. And I carry with me every day the pain of the Church’s failures,” Cardinal O'Malley said.
“My deepest hope and prayer is that the efforts I am announcing today will provide some additional comfort and healing for those who have suffered from sexual abuse by clergy and will continue to strengthen our efforts to protect God’s children.”