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. EnergyBeing3

    IS THIS FOR REAL? So why does Warren Jeffs go to prison yet these priests are allowed to commit the same crimes?

    August 30, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  2. The Jimster

    the problem isn't religion people...it's disharmony...as long as were not on the same page we will never solve our differences...these are the words of an agnostic atheist.

    August 29, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  3. Byrd

    250 in one diocese? I think the label for that is systemic perversion. Maybe Zeus will send down another of those lightning bolts that took care of Branson's house, both of ill repute.

    August 29, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
  4. CSX

    Belief Blog.....everything except belief in God.

    August 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm |
    • petercha

      Sad but true, CSX.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:05 pm |
    • 3lwood

      And Zeus. Can't believe they just ignore Zeus.

      August 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm |
  5. Peg

    It is worth noting, I believe, that many (perhaps most) of the victims who have come forward so far did so decades after the abuse occurred. With that concept in mind, it is WAY too early for the church to congratulate themselves that their 1990+ policies have been effective in preventing abuse.

    August 28, 2011 at 6:44 am |
  6. HappyMeal

    Please take me seriously, I want all of your attention so bad! The West hurts my feelings and the rest of you should know it!

    August 27, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
    • The Original

      The above HappyMeal is a fake. I've been lamenting over the West because it was once Christendom before and I remember those days. My former completely-pagan nations are now blessed with number of Christians. Present secular Westerners are incapable to understand their own heritage such as their classic literature because they are thoroughly and willingly heathen.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:27 am |
    • The Original

      Then again. I suffer from schizophrenia, so it's best if you don't take anything I ever say seriously... Except that West is worse than East because W comes later in the alphabet. Plus, the West is full of meanies that make me look like Oscar the Grouch. Please continue to enjoy my mindless babble. Love, The Original HappyMeal

      August 28, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  7. Reality

    As noted on p. 5:

    Another nail in the coffin of the RCC and its "holier than thou" priesthood!!!!

    But to be fair about the situation:

    Why did today's pope, prelates, preachers and rabbis, so focused on society's se-xual sins, lose sight of clerical se-xual sins?


    Obviously ordination in any religion is not assurance of good behavior !!!!!

    Neither is coronation!!! e.g. Henry VIII, King David.

    Neither is marriage as 50% of those men convicted of pedophilia are married.

    Neither is being elected president of the USA!! e.g. Billy "I did not have se-x with that girl" Clinton, John "Marilyn Monroe" Kennedy"

    Neither is possessing super athletic skill!!! e.g. Tiger "I am so sorry for getting caught" Woods.

    Neither is being an atheist or pagan since pedophilia is present in all walks of life.

    If someone is guilty of a crime in this litany of "neithers" they should or should have been penalized as the law dictates to include jail terms for pedophiliacs (priests, rabbis, evangelicals, boy scout leaders, married men/women), divorce and alimony payments for adultery (Clinton, Kennedy, Woods), jail terms for obstruction of justice (Clinton, Cardinal Law, B16?) and the death penalty or life in prison for murder ("Kings David and Henry VIII).

    August 27, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
  8. Colin

    I knew it was widespread, but dear God – 250 in Boston alone. Multiply that by every city of comparable size in the USA, then add the smaller towns and you've got to be deep into in the thousands!

    Then add all the towns and cities in all the other countries where the scandal has broken out – and then the third World countries where the Church is still powerful enough to keep a lid on it – and we've got to be well into six figures.

    This really is an organization completely marbled with pedophiles and their apologists.

    August 27, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • JT

      And then throw in all the tens of thousands of priests who are aware that Brother Philip is r@ping children but turn a blind eye. They are part of this pedophile cult as well.

      August 27, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  9. David Johnson

    WoW! There are so many of them... I think the Church should put these errant priests on bubblegum cards! We can collect and trade them. Might be valuable in 20 years to life...


    August 27, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • dean

      That is a good idea, but that would remind catholics of something they are trying to look past and forget about. You see they want al lthis negative publicity to blow over so that they can pretend like nothing ever happened and go back to being self rigteous bigots living in their little delusional fairy tale. If you want prove of Satan's existence look no further than the pope.

      August 27, 2011 at 1:15 pm |
  10. Rainer Braendlein

    Why do we call the Middle Ages dark age sometimes?

    What made life so unpleasant during the dark age?

    There are two reasons: The impact of the pope and the impact of the Muslim Arabs (Saracens).

    Here, I will focus on the influence of wicked papacy:

    After Gregory the Great (the last good pope, lifetime 540-604 a. D.) the wicked papacy was established by the criminal emperor Phocas (emperor of the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, reign 602-610 a. D.). Phocas made the Roman See the highest on earth, which was a crime.

    After wicked (papacy is wicked, because God doesn’t want any See to be the highest one on earth) papacy was established, the papal office corrupted more and more in the course of time. After a while the popes not only presumed to be the bishops of all bishops, but they even claimed to be higher than the emperor or any king. This development peaked in the papal docu-ment Dictatus Papae (by Pope Gregory VII), which declared that the pope was higher than the emperor. According to the demands of the docu-ment Dictatus Papae, Gregory VII desposed emperor Henry IV (emperor of the Roman-German Empire) at a Lenten synod on February 14, 1076 a. D..

    Have a look on wikipedia and you will see that from 1076 onward the rulers of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation (a former pope had made Germany the successor of the Roman Empire) just were called merely kings (before 1076 they were called emperors). Now hang on to your hat: For 666 years the Pope was the Super-Emperor of the whole world up to 1742 a. D., when Germany got an secular emperor again (Emperor Karl VII, who got crowned emperor on February 12, 1742 a. D.) One of the darkest periods of history lasted 666 years. Seemingly this number 666 is identic to the number of the Beast 666, which is mentioned in the Revelation.

    Free Churches should stop to mind about the meaning of 666.

    From 1076 to 1742 a beast ruled the world. 666 years long the world was tortured by a beast.

    God prevent us from a further papal rule. It is yet enough that he rules his club of predators (child abuse).

    August 27, 2011 at 10:09 am |
    • EvolvedDNA

      Rainer..all religions have added to human misery since their inception. Until you understand that it is not what god you believe in that defines you as a Human Being there cannot be any hope toward a peaceful world. By the tone of your post you do not like Catholics or Muslims..so how can you expect to look at them as human if your only view of them is through their belief? you are part of the problem that religion has like it or not.

      August 27, 2011 at 12:18 pm |
    • The Original

      Atheists create a living hell for everyone and call it a peaceful world. (Stalin's Soviet, North Korea, etc) America needs Judeo-Christian values always.

      August 28, 2011 at 8:31 am |
    • dixiejon

      the number 666 can also be translated from the oldest known book to 616. it doesnt mean much

      August 28, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • The Original

      I love the west and it's values. The east is lame. Judeo-Christian values are for ninnies and I ain't no ninny. Personally, I'd love to reside in a living hell! 😀

      August 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm |
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