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Church posts names of Boston clergy accused of child sex abuse
Cardinal Sean O'Malley made public the names of 159 clerics accused of child abuse.
August 25th, 2011
09:10 PM ET

Church posts names of Boston clergy accused of child sex abuse

By Tom Cohen, CNN

(CNN) -
A total of 250 clerics in the Boston Archdiocese have been accused of child abuse in recent decades, according to information made public Thursday by Cardinal Sean O'Malley in an attempt to help resolve an issue tearing at the core of Catholicism.

O'Malley said the archdiocese posted online the names of 159 accused clergy members, while there were 91 others who also faced some level of accusation but were not named for various reasons.

An investigation that began after the crisis over sexual abuse of children in the Boston Archdiocese fully emerged in 2002 has pored over records dating back more than 60 years, with subsequent decisions on who to name based on the nature of the accusations and other factors, according to O'Malley.

The disclosure by the Boston Archdiocese represented a shift in policy in a further effort to reach out to victims and their families harmed by the sexual abuse scandal, O'Malley said in a seven-page letter accompanying the announcement.

"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," the letter concluded.

However, the director of an advocacy group for victims of sexual abuse by priests called the steps announced by O'Malley insufficient and irresponsible, saying only one of the named priests was new to public information.

"We're disappointed with this very belated and begrudging and incomplete list," said a statement by David Clohessy of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.

Alleging that the names posted by O'Malley deliberately omitted "at least a third of predator priests," Clohessy's statement added that "some kids will be spared some abuse, because some predator priests are now more easily identified, and some victims will feel validation."

"But, many, many more would take comfort if O'Malley released new names instead of continuing the secrecy," the statement said.

O'Malley wrote that the policy change he was announcing "represents the first time that names of accused clerics have been compiled by the Archdiocese in a central location and a readily accessible format."

The letter noted that the searchable lists posted on the website http://www.bostoncatholic.org included what he called "pertinent information" about each member of the clergy listed, such as the individual's year of birth and year of ordination; whether the cleric is alive or deceased; their current status within their church; the date of any disciplinary action, dismissal or criminal conviction; and a link to their assignment history.

"I am acutely aware of the harm that the abuse of children by clergy has caused in the lives of so many," O'Malley wrote in the letter. "And while I know there will be some who believe our policy changes should go further, after careful consultation and consideration of views expressed by many people and groups, I believe that the changes we are making are appropriate."

According to the letter, one list posted includes the names of all Boston Archdiocese clergy who have been found guilty of sexually abusing a child by the Catholic Church or under criminal law, as well as any accused individuals who voluntarily requested removal from the clergy.

In addition, the list also names archdiocese clergy still facing public accusations of child sex abuse, as well as those who died before public accusations of sex abuse against them could be fully investigated or were leveled in the first place.

A separate list includes the names of clergy eventually cleared of public accusations of sexual abuse, O'Malley's letter said. Some of the priests on the second list have returned to active ministry, he noted.

"In the present environment, a priest who is accused of sexually abusing a minor may never be able to fully restore his reputation, even if cleared after civil or canonical proceedings," the letter added.

The 91 accused priests not named on the lists include 62 deceased clergy who were never publicly accused or fully investigated, O'Malley's letter said.

"I emphasize that our decision not to list the names of deceased priests who have not been publicly accused and as to whom there were no canonical proceedings conducted or completed (most were accused well after their death) does not in any way mean that the archdiocese did not find that the claims of particular survivors who accused those deceased priests to be credible or compelling," the letter said. "Indeed, in many of those cases, the archdiocese already has proceeded to compensate the survivor and provides counseling and pastoral care to those individuals."

Of the other accused clergy not named, 22 faced unsubstantiated accusations, four were not in active ministry and face preliminary investigation, and three were already out of the ministry by their own volition or dismissal and never were publicly accused, O'Malley's letter said.

The archbishop's letter pointed out that most of the sexual abuse cases and allegations involve misconduct, real or claimed, from decades earlier, "before the Church adopted its current child protection policies."

It noted that the "vast majority" of complaints to the archdiocese before 2004 involved alleged incidents from 1965 to 1982, and that more recent data showed that only 4% of the 198 accusations received from 2004 to 2010 were alleged to have occurred after 1990.

"I do not say this in any way to minimize the abuse of minors by Boston priests, which is heinous, or the serious mistakes made by the Church hierarchy in responding to it," O'Malley said in the letter. "Nor do I seek to ignore the harm caused to survivors by these historical incidents, harm which is both current and the subject of our ongoing pastoral response.

"Rather I simply seek to place the problem in context and to give the faithful some confidence that the policies adopted by the Church to protect its children starting in the early 1990s have been effective," O'Malley wrote.

–CNN's Samantha Stamler contributed to this report.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Belief • Bishops • Catholic Church • Church • Sex abuse • United States

soundoff (442 Responses)
  1. Bo

    =========@Colin*continued*================ with the 'Big Bang' therory as to why it couldn't be true, yet for the most part everyone accepts it as a truth. Why? Because that is what they want you think. This is the same with other therories. It is the same with evolution, there is no proof, only a therory that is being taught as truth. The same is true in the reverse. If it can't be proved then it isn't true, i.e. Abraham never exisited. There is a simple solution. When archiologist go to find a "nation" or people they start to look for archetecture. Abraham never built any cities, there is nothing to find. But, when it comes to his great grandson, Joseph, there is not much argument because there is too much evidence to show that he did exisit. There is only one dispute–his name. And as for Moses, there is evidence he exisited while he lived in Egypt, but no evidence, yet, that he led the Israel out of Egypt, Why? Again, no buildings. There is also evidence that Jesus lived 'continued'

    August 26, 2011 at 2:36 am |
    • Sporkify

      Actually there is plenty of evidence for evolution, it's called the fossil record. Look it up sometime.

      Further, there's no historical evidence that Jesus ever existed. He's a myth, and Christians are at best gullible fools.

      Next please.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:11 am |
  2. Celeste

    These religion articles are always filled with comments by aethist troll/haters. It's getting really old. You guys do know that all those comments are really just signs of insecurity and/or fear, right?

    August 26, 2011 at 2:08 am |
    • jimtanker

      Insecurity and fear? NOPE!

      If just one person reads a post on here and thinks, "He may be right" and then goes and actually researches his religion and sees the ignorance behind it then my work is done.

      I just want people to have good reasons behind their beliefs.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:15 am |
    • Amom

      @jimtanker "If just one person reads a post on here and thinks, "He may be right" and then goes and actually researches his religion and sees the ignorance behind it then my work is done."

      If one sinner repents there is rejoicing in heaven. And, know what, our work is not done because God's mercy is endless.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:45 am |
    • Sporkify

      I read this stuff at work for entertainment when there's nothing else to do. You christo-crazies are humorous. Depressing, but humorous.

      And that fear/insecurity you claim to make us feel? No. The only feeling you folks inspire in me is disgust.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:13 am |
  3. shelski

    How can anyone trust a priest? Really. Even though all of them aren't guilty of actually diddling children, the rest are thinking about it. It's so rampant.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:04 am |
  4. Ricardo

    Aetheists are in a lose-lose situation. Either they're right, and the other 90% of the planet is wrong, in which case, they die and there's no afterlife...zilch...nadda....their conciousness simply dissappears into oblivion... OR

    They're wrong, in which case, they're headed for hell and damnation for eternity because of their lack of faith. How's it like to be GUARENTEED LOSERS?! hahahahaha

    August 26, 2011 at 2:04 am |
    • jimtanker

      We live our lives based in reality not fantasy. If you live your life worried about going to heII you are the one wasting your life.

      Now who is the looser?

      August 26, 2011 at 2:13 am |
    • Sean

      Sorry, 90% of the planet don't believe in monotheism.I can easily believe that 50% are wrong, because that's how many people vote for the GOP knowing fully well they've opposed Medicare and Social Security since day one. Just like religion, you tell a lie enough times people believe it. Fear is also a powerful tool to control the lemmings!

      August 26, 2011 at 2:16 am |
    • Answer

      Your view of heaven please?

      I'm sure your delusions include that much needed security blanket that you have won your way to that blessed place.
      After all you are a full card carrying member right? Got your ticket all stamped and willing to go anytime!

      Bliss and happiness. All the virgins that you didn't nail here on earth – totally – you'll get in heaven.
      All the foods – all the desires you have ever wasted on approval of your religion – Finally!
      Am I making you excited that you are worthwhile? Are you worthwhile? Really?

      Is your heaven geared up for you to have a body to play with? Will you have a body?
      Your bible says you have a soul. This soul, is like a body right? With humans features and senses just like on earth
      while we were living on it. Must be a great shelter and relief that you in heaven will be provided for fully!

      I kinda have to indulge my questions here – will God be your personal slave – fit to see that you get all those desires
      fulfilled? It is your due correct? You've pushed on converting all you can, those that have not heeded you are now in hell.
      Thus you rejoice – an inner sanctum of "I'm saved! They're not!"

      Rejoice – rejoice to all christians! Let me laugh at my own wit 🙂

      August 26, 2011 at 2:33 am |
    • NEVERQUIT

      And what if, instead, there's a supreme being who says, "let me reward those who have used their human faculties, reasoning and intellect," and to add the drama that you so love, "and let me punish for eternity those with weak will who blindly adopted the fantasties and fairy tales pushed upon them without ever questioning..." What do you do then???

      August 26, 2011 at 2:43 am |
    • Sean

      NEVERQUIT, you've basically defeated yourself with that statement. I presume you're an atheist since you're rebutting Ricardo. As an atheist, how can you make such a statement? Do you also beleive in the Tooth fairy? ZING

      August 26, 2011 at 3:36 am |
  5. Bo

    =========@Colin======================== I read your long post to Carl.You are very right on many points, but not all. I, unfortunately, agree that many Christians do not know the Bible very well even some ministers, that's a shame. I'm not sure what you mean by not fearing death, but if you mean in a philosophic way, a true Christian has no fear of death. As for science there may need to be some defintion. Science is a very ambiguous word. If a therory has been proven to be, or not to be true, some think this is no longer science. #here are some who think only unproven theroies is science. One danger in science is that there are some people take therories to be fact. the "big bang" is one of these. just this week i was skimming through a book on dark matter. astronmors have different ideas what it might be there is little agreement. But, there are many who want to link this with theBig Bang" thereoy. As I read I came to the last of chapter and the was a long list of problems

    August 26, 2011 at 2:02 am |
  6. Pestilence

    The Pope should not only resign; but he should be beaten from his post without mercy... only then will I ever forgive the Catholic Church.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:57 am |
    • Mj

      where you abused by the catholic church???

      August 26, 2011 at 10:15 am |
  7. Brian

    "Atheists are pigs."...........................................

    I wonder why church ladies are so fat. My church is full of 300 pound church ladies.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Pete

      You really don't make any sense though.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:57 am |
  8. vinny

    I went to a Christian high school and all the teachers were supposed to be Christians. When I was 13 a teacher touched me. I didn't know what to do. I froze. Not to mention i am a man and it shouldn't have happened. Do i want to sue? No. Do i want an apology? Yes.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:44 am |
  9. Stan

    Atheists are pigs.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • vinny

      What are nice Christian you are? Did God instruct you to call others 'pigs'?

      August 26, 2011 at 1:49 am |
    • Sam

      I'm actually glad for his statement. If you read every one of these (obviously anti-christian) articles, i'd say 80%+ of the comments are from aetheists totally attacking christians with the most insulting commentary. Maybe we really are making ourselves look out to be pigs, who don't tolerate "others". I read somewhere that we are effectively becoming our own "religion", and every day, that seems to be making more and more sense. Oh and if you didn't guess it when i said "we", I am an atheist.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:56 am |
    • Becca

      It's not so much that they are pigs...insulting, yes. The real issue is, they are very insecure.

      August 26, 2011 at 1:59 am |
    • Kristal

      NOT every1 believe's but You have a right to speak so speak for yourself

      August 26, 2011 at 2:02 am |
    • shelski

      You are THEE perfect example of Darwinism's idiot detractors

      August 26, 2011 at 2:07 am |
  10. Brian Omaley

    Cardinal Sean O'Malley is one more example of how Priests continue to withhold the names of the guilty and he should be charged as an accomplice. One in six priests in America has either been found guilty, is being investigated, or is under indictment. Anyone sending their child to a Catholic Church is guilty of Child Endangerment. The whole Catholic Church should be seized under the RICO act and its doors closed. That pathetic old man, Pope John Paul mumbled on for years making that horrible drooling noise, hhheeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh, when asked about the rampant Child abuse going in his church and now we KNOW it did unequivocally under his watch because they entered guilty pleas! He should be dug up and burned.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:29 am |
  11. BG

    Here's a short but good treatise on the RCC and celibacy.

    http://www.sdadefend.com/Watching-Waymarks/Celebacy.htm

    Catholicism is it's own worst enemy. Well, next to the parents of children abused by priests.

    As a parent I know what I'd do... and it doesn't involve courts.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:18 am |
  12. Bo

    ==========@rick10:24=============== I don't think a high percent of atheists are criminals, so with only 4% of the population being atheist, how many would you expect to be in prision? 4%? However, if a person really believes in God, most likelly he/she wouldn't be in prision in the first place, they just say they believe in God. There are, of course, exceptions.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:04 am |
  13. Brian

    "These type of people are found in all walks of life and not just in the Catholic Church."

    Those nuns taught us "defending the faith" along with our catechism didn't they. I wonder why the world is so full of FORMER Catholics.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:03 am |
  14. Ed

    Matthew, really? A religion that forbids to marry by those the Bible says should be the husband of one wife, is a religion asking for problems . The Bible says that those who seek the office of a Bishop , desire a good work. It goes on to say that these MUST be the husbands of one wife and have children. They must oversee their own house well. I Timothy3:1-5. This religion has a problem understanding the gospel and how one is saved from hell. The Bible clears everything up with a few verses.(John3:16,17; Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 10:9,10; I John 5:13)KJB . IN John 3:3 there is no baptism water involved. The context reveals that that which is , "Born of water" , is speaking of physical birth . This is that which is born of the flesh. That is not enough to make it to heaven. Jesus says you need to be born of the Spirit too (born from above). The Roman church is mentioned in Revelation 17, and not in a good way. Come out from among them and be ye separate sayeth the LORD and He will receive you. Believe on the LORD Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved. IN NO OTHER NAME.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:03 am |
    • Brian Omaley

      Well he didn't save those kids from being abused did he!

      August 26, 2011 at 1:31 am |
    • Steve

      The Catholic Church's rules are based on Code of Canon Law and not "the Bible". The Catholic Church precedes the Bible, not the other way around.

      August 26, 2011 at 9:58 am |
  15. Wrong is wrong

    The catholic church protects ped0phi1es and takes pride in this practice.

    August 26, 2011 at 1:02 am |
  16. John M

    These type of people are found in all walks of life and not just in the Catholic Church. The protestant churches also need to clean house. They are just as bad if not worse as they are totally chaotic allow for these people to hide much better.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:49 am |
  17. toshmaster1

    250 accused? that means the whole load of them were colluding and it was part of the culture. More proof there is no god.
    As if more was needed.

    August 26, 2011 at 12:47 am |
  18. brown

    A rope awaits these baastards!

    August 26, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  19. larry

    I am not an atheist, but this kind of story could make a real good arguement for it. Someone made a good point of letting priests marry

    August 26, 2011 at 12:33 am |
    • Matthew

      What does letting priests marry have to do with them abusing children? Do you think any of the pedophiles who are attracted to children would suddenly say, "Gee, I think I won't molest any more children now that I am suddenly allowed to marry an adult woman instead."? No, of course they wouldn't stop abusing children. Pedophilia doesn't occur simply because there are no women around. The issue of whether priests should be allowed to marry is utterly separate from the issue of child abuse by clergy.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:37 am |
  20. budda

    Last night the big debate was why are so many less educated white people not attending churches anymore?

    Maybe they know something that other people just do not want to admit to themselves.
    Those who preach are the biggest sinners!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 12:32 am |
    • larry

      Interesting point you make.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:35 am |
    • Matthew

      Or maybe the answer is far more mundane. Why should poor white people attend Sunday church when the NFL is on or when there are NASCAR races to watch? If beer, grilling, and sports suddenly became a huge part of church, they wouldn't be able to keep the people away.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:39 am |
    • Pestilence

      @ Matthew.. OR, one could say, if @ss raping children were a part of NASCAR; you couldn't keep the Catholics away?

      August 26, 2011 at 2:01 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.