He added that the investigation is done because "we always have to make sure that we're protecting everyone's rights involved in this, being sensitive to everyone: the person bringing the accusation forward, as well as the accused," noting that "the legal system is innocent until proven guilty."
If the credibly accused person is a cleric, "immediately their faculties are withdrawn and they're informed that they are not to function or present themselves as a cleric in the Church."
The bishop added that their case can be sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, where they can be assessed various penalties, such as dismissal from the clerical state.
When the credibly accused person is a member of a religious community, "the expectation is that (their community) take the lead," Bishop Wall explained, though the diocese does work closely with the religious community throughout the process.
The Gallup diocese's list of credibly accused was first made in December 2014, and its recent update reflects the fact that "sometimes we don't have enough information on a particular case; we might not have enough information to investigate it, and then deem it credible."
"If at a later date more information does come to us, so that we are able to investigate it, and then we are able to deem it credible, then we immediately put it on our list of credibly accused," the bishop said. "So it all has to deal with the information that we have."
The diocese's list reflects any local Church workers who have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of a minor, whether while they were in ministry in Gallup or in another diocese. It also shows when and where they ministered within the diocese, whether or not the alleged abuse was carried out at those times and places.
Those who have been credibly accused were in ministry between the 1930s and the 2010s. There was a sharp rise of those in ministry in the 1950s, with a peak in the 1960s. Many of the credibly accused were also in ministry in the 1970s and '80s. The numbers fell in the 1990s and 2000s.
There was a sole case since Bishop Wall was named Bishop of Gallup in 2009: Fr. Timothy Conlon, a member of the Crosier Fathers. He served in two Arizona parishes from 2011 to 2013 before the diocese was informed by his religious community of an allegation of sexual abuse against him.
The bishop said the Church is now "really in the forefront of making sure that we provide a safe environment for our young people, and vulnerable adults as well," with its screening of potential ministers leadings its efforts.
He cited the use of psychological screening and testing, and the fact that "our interview process is much, much more extensive than it was" in past times. Moreover, the Gallup diocese trains its volunteers, employees, students and clerics in child safety, and has a mandatory background check.
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"We try to put in as many safety procedures as possible," he said.
Reflecting on the spike of credibly accused clerics in the 1950s and '60s, Bishop Wall said that while there were a number of contributing factors, he believes that chief among them was the sexual revolution and "the groundwork [which] was already being laid prior to that."
"But then again, these were bad people who did bad things to people; and these people should never have been placed in the positions to violate the trust, to violate these young people."
In response to the crisis of sexual abuse, the Diocese of Gallup has also held healing services in parishes across its territory, in which Bishop Wall listens to and prays with survivors of sexual abuse, regardless of who their abuser was.
"It provides an opportunity not only to come together to pray, to pray for healing, but also gives an opportunity for anyone, and I stress that – anyone – who is a survivor of sexual abuse to meet with me," the bishop explained.
"So we could have someone who is a survivor of sexual abuse by a worker of the Church, or someone who's a survivor of sexual abuse not by a worker of the Church, it could be family or friends, whatever the case might be … that's what the Church is about, it's what our ministry is about: offering the healing of Christ, so we provide that opportunity as well."