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Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Cleveland Catholic Diocese Says It'll Release Names of Priests Removed Due to Sexual Abuse Allegations

Posted By on Wed, Oct 3, 2018 at 10:47 AM

  • Bishop Perez
The largest Catholic diocese in the state of Ohio, and one that observers said had the "biggest gap between the number of priests accused [of sexual abuse] and the number of priests that are public," now says it will release a full list of priests removed from their posts due to child sexual abuse allegations.

That's what Deacon James Armstrong of the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland told yesterday. "[We] are currently working to identify any cleric removed from ministry prior to 2002 due to allegations that they sexually abused a minor," he said.

Pennsylvania recently released the full grand jury report on allegations against priests in that state, including more than 300 names. The scope and severity of the offenses drew widespread public shock and horror.

Dozens of dioceses around the country have previously released a full accounting of accusations and names, and many more this year have pledged to follow suit. Until this week, Cleveland had not only refused to do so but actively worked to ensure that a 2002 Cuyahoga County grand jury investigation, and the 149 priests named therein, remained under seal.

"We remain committed to addressing this issue directly and openly. In this way, Bishop Pilla recently stated, all of us can become more alert to the dangers, more protective of potential victims, more pastorally responsive to those who have been victims of abuse, and more effective in dealing with those responsible for the abuse of minors," the Diocese said in a statement in April 2002. "The prosecutor has requested that we maintain the confidentiality of the grand jury inquiry. We intend to honor that request and therefore
will make no further comment regarding the pending grand jury investigation."

That last part isn't true, of course — a lawyer for the diocese told then Prosecutor Bill Mason it would sue if the office attempted to release the report, but 16 years later, under Bishop Nelson J. Perez, at least they're finally doing the right thing.

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