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. anthony

    My son will never step foot in a church(if i can help it). He will be taught science and math and good morals.. When he's old enough, he will be left to make his own decisions. At that point, hopefully he will be one of the brightest bulbs, and the decisions he makes on his own will keep him away from organizations that prey on the weak minded. These men are disgusting and something tells me this is far more widespread then ever reported, and Boston is just one of many Churches to have this problem.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:18 am |
    • dkflksdjfla

      Yea, homeschooling is way to go.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:22 am |
    • Nobody Cares

      Thanks for sharing your life story and your son's life story, maybe we can hear about grandpa and great-great-great grandpa too. We're all fascinated by your riveting tales of adventure. What was your point for this post? Oh, that you hate organized religion. Well you have to be the most original mind in the universe!!

      August 26, 2011 at 11:25 am |
    • JT

      @anthony, I too raised my children the same way and never indoctrinated them into any cult. I was indoctrinated into the Christian cult as a child but thankfully the virus never took hold.

      August 26, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
  2. dkflksdjfla

    Accusation is not = Guilty

    August 26, 2011 at 11:15 am |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics

      When it comes to priests it does

      August 26, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  3. Chris

    All of them

    August 26, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  4. DamianKnight

    This is very simple. It doesn't matter who you are. If you molest a child, or commit any other crime, that needs to be handled by the government.

    This falls squarely under Romans 13:1-3. The RCC has no basis for not turning over these predator priests.

    August 26, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Zanny The Nanny

      Castrate them all!!!!

      August 26, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • Bridget

      It truly isn't just that Catholic Priests are so often stereotyped and insulted,and called pedophiles.The Catholic Church is full of men who selflessly live out their vocation. They labor and seek no reward ,toil and seek not rest, the love sacrificially giving of themselves even when met with hatred. These men go unrecognized so often yet the deplorable actions of a few are used to describe the whole. Your children are much more safe in Catholic Church or school than in a public one. I have been Catholic all my life and met nothing but amazing men who shine with a light not their own and an inner strength man cannot give himself. PLEASE STOP STEREOTYPING
      "The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you." — St. John Vianney

      August 26, 2011 at 11:29 am |
    • A Theist

      @Bridget I think the problem the Catholic church faces right now is the same one Muslims are facing–they aren't drawing a clear distinction between the psychos and the people truly living out their faith. If the rest of the Muslims were willing to take more blatant steps in outing their lunatic counter-parts, I think much more of America would trust them. The Catholic Church should follow suit. Turn over the sickos to the police and society will again know who they can learn (notice I said learn) to trust again.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:34 am |
    • DamianKnight


      I don't know if this was directed towards me, but since it was a reply to my comment, I can only imagine that it was. Reviewing my post, I don't believe I stereotyped at all, which is good since I tried my best to not come across with gros generalizations.

      The higher ups from the RCC have been involved in actively hindering the government's investigation claiming "the silence of the confessional." My only point is, if the RCC is following the Bible, they need to submit to the authorities (Romans 13:1-3). Anyone, from pauper to president, who is accused of molesting a child needs to be investigated by the government's authorities.

      I'm not talking about your average joe priest, that's why I specifically said "predator priests."

      August 26, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Anti Christian Taliban Schizophrenics


      It truly isn't just that Catholic Priests are so often stereotyped and insulted,and called pedophiles.The Catholic Church is full of men who selflessly live out their vocation. They labor and seek no reward ,toil and seek not rest, the love sacrificially giving of themselves even when met with hatred. These men go unrecognized so often yet the deplorable actions of a few are used to describe the whole. Your children are much more safe in Catholic Church or school than in a public one. I have been Catholic all my life and met nothing but amazing men who shine with a light not their own and an inner strength man cannot give himself. PLEASE STOP STEREOTYPING
      "The priest is not a priest for himself; he does not give himself absolution; he does not administer the Sacraments to himself. He is not for himself, he is for you." — St. John Vianney

      While that sounds nice and fuzzy, the church's actiuons speak otherwise. If you wish to continue to support and condone child r ap i sts that is your choice...stay catholic then.

      August 26, 2011 at 11:46 am |
    • Bridget

      @DamianKnight no sorry for the confusion I was just posting a comment it wasn't directed towards you , sorry

      August 27, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  5. erich2112x

    Nuclear war, abortion, divorce, contraception, gay marriage,.....but they've always stonewalled on this issue.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:49 am |
  6. Clevelander

    Amazing, these priests should be thrown in jail, theyll get all the " little" boys they want

    August 26, 2011 at 10:47 am |
  7. M-AZ - Imagining John Lennon's world.

    If there is no God; do we need a God? And I am talking about a Universal Power that belongs to all; that everyone can be accountable to and make us better human beings, not the deities that people are accustomed to praying to before they strap on bombs that kill innocent civilians, or spew hateful rehtoric towards people who are different, or while protesting the funerals of fallen soldiers, who unfortunately are convinced they must kill in the name of their God.

    Is that God 10 zillion light years away like the Stevie Wonder song states?

    August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am |
  8. Cricket

    Even my late sainted mother-in-law, a devout Catholic, said that she would line them all up and "cut off their equipment!"

    August 26, 2011 at 10:34 am |
  9. Come2Papa

    why is that believers can ALWAYS absolve god from any bad things associated with the Church? is that the so called "faith"?(uh, that's just a rethorical question). how do "believers" know that god didn't make priests do these horrendous things? i mean, seriously, ALL believers of god readily admit that "god moves in mysterious ways... and we can't possibly comprehend god's actions". and yet they're all so positive to proclaim god's innocence in these crimes against underage boys and girls. LOL. does god work for them? all of a sudden they can comprehend that god had no part in the crimes and atrocities going unpunished for centuries? such believes are sins in themselves, so are blind faith.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:22 am |
    • Chris

      Well they pick and choose. Thats why you have conflicting beliefs and thats how they over look this stuff and continue to believe. Their really good at lying to themselves. Its the only reason it even exists. People don't understand how powerful the brain is. If you cant control your mind and understand by way of knowledge...then you will wind up like them.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:29 am |
    • Sporkify

      "God works in mysterious ways, we cannot know his will..."

      But they sure are adamant that they know precisely who and what he abhors, who's going to hell and who got into heaven, and what's "morally right" for everyone else.

      Disgusting hypocrites.

      August 26, 2011 at 12:48 pm |
    • JT

      Don't forget about the "free will" scam. When they (Christians) are backed to the wall they have their mantras to fall back on as if it answers anything. Of course it's all so ridiculous but that's what brain washing and indoctrination from childhood does to a person.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Bridget

      The Holy Father: Brothers and Sisters, let us turn with trust to God our Father, who is merciful and compassionate, slow to anger, great in love and fidelity, and ask him to accept the repentance of his people who humbly confess their sins, and to grant them mercy.

      [All pray for a moment in silence.]

      I. Confession of Sins in General

      Cardinal Bernardin Gantin: Let us pray that our confession and repentance will be inspired by the Holy Spirit, that our sorrow will be conscious and deep, and that, humbly viewing the sins of the past in an authentic "purification of memory", we will be committed to the path of true conversion. [Silent prayer.] ...

      Archbishop François Xavier Nguyên Van Thuân: Let us pray for all the men and women of the world, especially for minors who are victims of abuse, for the poor, the alienated, the disadvantaged; let us pray for those who are most defenceless, the unborn killed in their mother's womb or even exploited for experimental purposes by those who abuse the promise of biotechnology and distort the aims of science. [Silent prayer.]

      The Holy Father: God, our Father, you always hear the cry of the poor. How many times have Christians themselves not recognized you in the hungry, the thirsty and the naked, in the persecuted, the imprisoned, and in those incapable of defending themselves, especially in the first stages of life. For all those who have committed acts of injustice by trusting in wealth and power and showing contempt for the "little ones" who are so dear to you, we ask your fogiveness: have mercy on us and accept our repentance. We ask this through Christ our Lord. R. Amen. R. Kyrie, eleison; Kyrie, eleison; Kyrie, eleison.
      [A lamp is lit before the Crucifix.]

      @ Come2Papa one could ask the same question as to why GOD willed to suffer the most agonizing torments man has ever been able to unleash why it is that LOVE itself was nailed to a cross... Herein lies the mystery of suffering and how great good can be wrought from the most horrendous evils , there is no doubt that these evils cause great pain to GOD as did the sufferings of his Son.

      August 27, 2011 at 10:14 am |
  10. maniacmudd

    a snake pit of wanton pedophiles..... those poor children, their parents should be inprisoned for forcing them to beleive in this evil religion.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:17 am |
    • virtualgd

      There are some very good priests, they are not all like that. I agree that they should be locked up for life but don't criticize the entire Catholic church for a few bad people! Your lack of knowledge shows your ignorance!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • Abstinence makes the church grow fondlers.

      @virtualgd blind faith in an imaginary friend creates the environment where people surrender logic and hand over their kids to perverts. The ped priests are only the symptom – the ORGANIZED RELIGION is the cause.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:52 am |
    • Octobersan

      Abstinance.....perhaps organized religion is the sympton. An insane species is the cause. Look into it

      August 26, 2011 at 11:02 am |
    • JT

      It's amazing how these die hard Catholics gloss over the fact that their pedophile infested cult protects these child r@pists, shuffling them onto new unsuspecting victims. It takes complete indoctrination into this cult to minimize the r@pe of thousands of children. They disgust me to the core.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Bridget

      Belief in the exisistence of a transcendant , superintelligent GOD isn't the least bit illogical. "It is absurd for the Evolutionist to complain that it is unthinkable for an admittedly unthinkable God to make everything out of nothing, and then pretend that it is more thinkable that nothing should turn itself into everything."
      — G.K. Chesterton

      August 27, 2011 at 10:25 am |
  11. Reality

    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 26, 2011 at 10:14 am |
    • angry candy

      Typical Xhristian-Repuke denial crap.
      Dismantle all religious coporations. All of them.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:23 am |
  12. Sherry Dockrell

    God bless Cardinal O"Malley for confronting this problem which seemed to be ignored by our church leaders for far too long. His efforts have made my spirit proud.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:10 am |
    • FBMarky

      God condemn cardinal O'Mally and everyone else involved with this ring of perverts. These evil people have no place in society, but because they profess to love jesus, they get away with it. Disgusting.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:13 am |
    • Davey Jones


      August 26, 2011 at 10:16 am |
    • Chris

      Keep pretending Sherry.....you people never use your brains...if god can do anything why didn't he stop the molestation before it even happened? Everything you see, all the destruction and hate would be his responsibility. Just like if I created a clone and it killed 100 people...IM Responsible. Human morality and godly morality apparently are two different things.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:31 am |
    • JT

      You poor pathetic creature. So you think all this child r@pe is now history and you can continue as if nothing ever happened eh? I hope you do not have children so you don't pass your disease on.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • HappyMeal

      You Westerners are diseased and lost your way.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • HappyMeal

      I hate the West so much that I only head East to go anywhere. If the West were a baby, I'd punch it with my crucifix.

      August 27, 2011 at 8:36 pm |
  13. RJ

    Christendom today is driven by tradition and pride. Not love of God and his son. This love SHOULD move true Christians to pattern their lives after the model Christ left us. The pattern Christendom follows is a satanic pattern, much like the pattern set by the self-worshiping Jews of Jesus' day. Strip away "the pomp" and you see so much filth.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:07 am |
    • JT

      Oh....are you actually one of those rare creatures called a True Christian®?

      August 26, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  14. Barry G.

    Doc Vestibule,

    Thank you for what you shared.

    I believe that one of the ways God brings his judgment on the wicked is by first exposing their evil deeds.

    This means that God is working through you and through other good people, who are outraged by the actions of these evil priests.

    Keep up the good work!

    August 26, 2011 at 10:06 am |
    • Stizzle

      Who was God "working through" during the 20+ years of covering up these incidents?

      August 26, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  15. CJ

    Time to shut down organized religion. ALL of them.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Hear Ye

      AGREE !!

      August 26, 2011 at 10:36 am |
    • JT

      Or at least drop their tax exempt status.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  16. Cedar Rapids

    250 clerics in the Boston Archdiocese alone?
    Few more than the 'handful of priests' the defenders keep talking about.

    August 26, 2011 at 10:03 am |
    • Jessica

      Yeah, that is a huge number in one diocese. The statistics from the church for the year 2006 show a total of 1,409 priests so that is about 1 in 6 is a molester. Stats from catholic-hierarchy dot org.


      August 26, 2011 at 10:21 am |
    • JT

      Jessica, yes it is truly disgusting. Catholics like to then point to secular organizations and pedophiles in their midst but if my child played sports and 1 in 6 of every adult were a child r@pist it would be the end of that league and they would all be jail. At least coaches and anyone else working with kids in the secular world must get a through background check.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  17. bud

    Hang them all!!!!!!

    August 26, 2011 at 10:01 am |
  18. Barry G.


    The priesthood began when God commanded his people to build the Tabernacle (Tent of Meeting). This commandment was given at Mt. Sinai, when God gave Moses the Ten Commandments. (See: Exodus and Leviticus.)

    The priesthood continued with the advent of the church, for Christians believe that the church is the living Tabernacle of God.

    The problem is one of disobedience, as has always been the case; and, this doesn't merely apply to the priesthood.

    God often condemned the leaders of his people, due to their disobedience and due to their leading God's people astray. (This is virtually the entire story of the Old Testament.)

    "Woe to the evil shepherds." (See: Jeremiah, Ezekiel, etc.)

    The leaders of God's people were often called shepherds. This included the kings, the prophets and the priests. God condemned every one of them, when they disobeyed him, which was almost always.

    If you think you're frustrated, imaginine how God feels. He loves all of us, even those of us who are wicked and don't deserve to be loved.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:51 am |
    • gnodges

      Yeah, too bad it's all made up......time to close the good book, and take a good look around.

      August 26, 2011 at 10:21 am |
  19. Barry G.


    Remember the good lives and works of faithful Christians, like Mother Teresa.

    There are faithful Christians, who do nothing but good, each and every day of their lives. Sadly you seldom hear about these faithful Christians, who are serving humanity quietly and humbly.

    Remember that Jesus said that few would be saved.

    The Apostle Peter wrote in his New Testament epistle, First Peter:
    Judgment will begin at the house of faith, and if the righteous are scarcely saved, where will the ungodly and sinner appear [on the Day of Judgment]?

    August 26, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  20. Smuz

    Sometimes I wonder if it is that widespread or if it is a witch hunt. I am by no means defending the church nor do I agree with many of their tactics and policies...but I just have to wonder.

    August 26, 2011 at 9:38 am |
    • JT

      No, it's much more widespread than that.

      August 26, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
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About this blog

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.