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. mako

    the true nature of the religion revealed

    August 26, 2011 at 7:20 am |
  2. Terry

    In the name of God - Drop your pants!

    August 26, 2011 at 7:10 am |
  3. ComeAgainBaltoMD

    "before the Church adopted its current child protection policies." SO THEIR PREVIOUS POLICY WAS "DIDDLE THE POOR CHILDREN"

    August 26, 2011 at 7:09 am |
  4. JJ

    It's summer, go get your can of PriestOff spray before it runs out. And stop thinking predators in robes represent imaginary chumps in the sky.

    August 26, 2011 at 7:04 am |
  5. John Richardson

    At what point does one declare an insti-tution corrupt to the core?

    August 26, 2011 at 7:01 am |
  6. John


    August 26, 2011 at 6:29 am |
  7. Karloff

    Catholic priests = criminals.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:12 am |
    • ron mcloughlin

      It's still hard to believe the number of tainted priests or the "pedophiles." I have never seen a breakdown by the RC Church or others the age, gender, times molested, multiple priests, etc. Let's have it out in the open.I recently read that Irish priests were the source of the widespread molestation.

      August 26, 2011 at 6:49 am |
  8. Islam is compassion

    Khan’s Islamic Jihad is an excellent intellectual weapon.

    BW: Welcome Mr. Khan. Tell us about your motivation behind writing this book.

    Khan: Thank you Bill giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts on the kind of danger the progressive world faces from an Islamic resurgence and how we deal with it.

    What we are witnessing today in Muslim countries-namely in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Sudan etc-is the Talibanization or Saudization of the society, i.e., the establishment of Sharia in all spheres of life and society. In other Muslim countries, the demand for the same is solidifying; in a few decades, the face of the entire Islamic world will dramatically change.

    The Islamic world is heading toward that which it embraces: Islam as a complete code of life, as believed by every Muslim. This transformation seems inescapable at this moment. But our major concern now is the infidel world, particularly the West. The native population in Europe is declining from low birthrate, while Muslims are procreating at unbridled rates. In the UK, Muslim population is increasing 10 times faster than the rest; the trend should be similar in other Western European countries. And where does this lead? By the middle of this century, Muslims will become the largest religious group in Europe.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:12 am |
  9. Peter Q wolfe

    I wanted to quote somebody on here "All religions are about control" but it is freewill to go to church or adhere to any religion especially in the U.S. Perhaps you were right in the past not anymore with tons of religions to follow in the land of the free you can do almost anything. Like all religions especially the larger the body of human involvement the more corruption there is in fact no group on Earth that isn't corrupt to one extinct or another. Can we honestly say if we get rid of organized religion that these problems simply disappear? Nope look at Pol Potts, etc for your answers and there are positives of treating some disabled people sufficiently like volunteer rides or volunteer civic participation or other things even be it forseful and looking for excessive tax cuts. Give people a reason to make something wrong they will do it for sure.

    August 26, 2011 at 6:04 am |

      Not true when you are a child your parents instill in you what religion you going to have in your life. From the start it's about controlling what you here,say and act in the presents of the church. This is true in all religions. It's about control, now some like my self thought about this and came to a reasoning that this holy book and story's just don't make sense and this go's for all holy books. Floods, Arks, two of each animal just too start. But what the church is really about is a free ride and the only way to pull this off is to control the masses. At one time if you questioned the church you would end up dead or burned at the stake for blaspheme. But over time as the masses get smarter and educated in science and the universe they loos there grip. This the big reason why the church is behind letting so many illegals from South America in to bolster up the masses because there uneducated and had hard line clergy teaching them back in there home lands. It's about control.

      August 26, 2011 at 7:03 am |
    • Stevie7

      If religion was about understanding and examining one's beliefs, catholic children wouldn't be taught the concept of transubstantiation at age 7. Is it any wonder that about half of all catholics don't understand what the concept represents. Get 'em hooked early so they don't understand or question what it is they supposedly believe

      August 26, 2011 at 7:55 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      One of the surest ways to raise the hackles of an american catholic is to point out that their wafers and wine is a form of ritualized cannibalism.

      August 26, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  10. Dammika

    Are the names of these clergies going to be included in the pedophile list?

    August 26, 2011 at 5:54 am |
  11. Roger T

    SATAN'S SYNAGOGUE! Go to youtube and type in catholic pope antichrist, satan etc...the signs are all there, Revelations even mentions the colors they wear...the upside down cross, the cane curved cross the pope carries? Good vs. Evil. Whos going to win?

    August 26, 2011 at 5:49 am |
  12. schnikers

    that will be a long list.

    August 26, 2011 at 5:11 am |
    • myklds

      As what the article said it's "159", Yes it is...and a very good start for more transparency.

      August 26, 2011 at 5:52 am |
  13. gupsphoo

    Be a good Catholic. Give your child to a priest. Amen.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:52 am |
  14. Independent Prayer

    The church does far more harm than good.

    It really is time to shut 'em down. All of them.

    August 26, 2011 at 4:45 am |
  15. j

    More proof of God's greatness on Earth!

    August 26, 2011 at 4:31 am |
    • myklds

      In deed...that the bishops and other catholic leaders begin to realise that the culprits must be brought to justice instead of hiding and protecting them.

      August 26, 2011 at 6:45 am |
  16. swingstar73

    Religion makes me sick.

    August 26, 2011 at 3:02 am |
    • starswing77x

      That's a clear symptoms of god-allergy, secondary to severe AuTHEiSM. Research found it originates from ancient monkeys with the scientific name ramapheticus.

      Although it's not contagious and the number of half monkeys having such illness is quite immaterial than alarming, yet you should be brought to the nearest vet for immediate treatment. Otherwise, the virus will climb to your brain and will empty your head to the last inch.

      But no need to worry it's not fatal. You may still live and continue making post in the internet like other half momkeys on this board, making brainless posts.

      Furthermore, you may find that it's better for (half monkeys like you) your brain to be fed to virus that it will have use rather than keeping it inside your cranium but as an excess baggage.

      August 26, 2011 at 7:25 am |
  17. Bo

    ===========@jimtanker2:13================ Where do you get the idea that Christians waste time worrying whether or not they are going to Heaven or Hell? Atheist are the ones who need to worry whether or not there is a hell. (I don't worry about hell, there is no such place, but there will be a lake of fire where the wicked will be destroyed.) it's your choice.

    August 26, 2011 at 2:57 am |
    • Answer

      Oh so you're on the authority to let us know (the atheists) that we should worry? Oh thank you. You blessed being! You've assured your place in heaven that quick already? Must be nice isn't it?

      Your spiffy trip to heaven all ready for ya. You'll get to the pearly gates, with a big slap on the back for a grand job well done!
      Let's shout it out. I have saved someone by telling them garbage! I didn't use any sound reasoning for reciting rote unto others!
      I was lead by faith alone, an pee'd in the winds!

      Btw how hot is hell? A sauna? Hotter than the sun? Who have you obligated to join in with the atheists? All the people
      you're crossed with I'm assuming? Be candid, your place is assured so out with the truth – from your heart. Who do you really hate for not believing your brand of garbage?

      August 26, 2011 at 3:19 am |
    • Sporkify

      "You can tell you've created god in your own image when he hates all the same people you do" – Anne Lamott

      August 26, 2011 at 12:28 pm |
  18. Bo

    ===========@jimtanker2:13================ Where do you get the idea that Christians waste time worrying whether or not they are going to Heaven or Hell? Atheist are the ones who need to worry whether or not there is a hell. (I don't worry about hell, there is no such place, but there will be a lake of fire where the wicked will be destroyed, but you needen'

    August 26, 2011 at 2:55 am |
    • SCAtheist

      Why else would you be a Chrisyian?

      August 26, 2011 at 5:28 am |
    • Sporkify

      Ah so you worship god out of fear of hell. I'm sure he's proud of such a cowardly creation as you.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:29 pm |
  19. jimmymax

    All religions are the same: Control and manipulation in all their manifestations. Can anyone seriously believe a Magic Man In The Sky allowed all this to happen without intervening?

    August 26, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  20. joey

    nice religion !

    August 26, 2011 at 2:47 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.