The United States Bishops Are Releasing Lists of Priests Who Are Credibly Accused of Sexual Abuse. But There is No Consistency in What Data is Included in These Lists or How They Are Disclosed.
Think back a couple of decades. Remember how survivors and advocates deplored the stunning disparity that characterized how both the accusers and the accused were treated based solely on where the reported abuse happened? A case in Chicago, for instance, was handled very differently from a case across the state line in Milwaukee or across another state line in Gary, Indiana.
These disparities were supposed to end in 2002. That year, gathered in Dallas, all of the United States bishops adopted a first-ever allegedly binding nationwide church abuse policy mandating ‘openness’ and ‘transparency’ in this scandal.
But for the most part, consistency just isn’t happening. Each bishop continues to act as he sees fit, despite the nationwide policy.
A great way to see this is to examine the ‘credibly accused’ abuser lists that most bishops have finally – after considerable pressure – posted on their websites.
The Monterey California diocese ‘credibly accused’ list includes the ‘Date of Incident’ and the ‘Date Reported to the Diocese.’ But few other dioceses do this.
(Their ‘still living’ and ‘credibly accused’ clerics include Raul Carvajal, Juan Carlos Esquivel, Carl Faria, Luis Garcia, Manuel Jimenez, Gilbert Meyer, Antonio Cortes, Edward Fitz-Henry, Juan Gregory Kareta and Paul Valdez.)
The Jefferson City Missouri diocese highlights information in red each time it updates its predator list.
But it refuses to reveal even a single work assignment for even a single predator.
(Their ‘still living’ and ‘credibly accused’ clerics include Hugh Behan, Kevin Clohessy, Manus Daly, Brendan Doyle, Robert Duesdieker, John Fischer, Geraldn Howard (a.k.a. Carmen Sita), Mel Lahr, John Long, James McNally, Gary Pool, Thomas Seifner, Donald Wallace, John Whiteley, Dominic Nixon, Eric Lucas, Deusdedit Mulokozi and Eric Schlachter.)
The Metuchen New Jersey diocese identifies which predators face ‘multiple allegations’ and which face ‘one accusation.’ It also includes a category called “Currently under investigation by civil authorities.” (It includes two clerics Thomas Ganley and Patrick Kuffner.)
But Metuchen’s bishop lists only ‘parish assignments’ which means that when a predator worked as a hospital chaplain or school principal or at Catholic Charities, that is still being kept hidden.
(Their ‘still living’ and ‘credibly accused’ clerics include Mark Dolak and Gregory Littleton.)
The Madison Wisconsin diocese provides the ages of its living predators. Few dioceses do this.
(Their ‘still living’ and ‘credibly accused’ clerics include Archie Adams, Curtis Alvarez, J. Gibbs Clauder, Patrick Doherty, Kenneth Klubertanz, Lawrence Trainor and Gerald Vosen.)
The Victoria Texas diocese essentially warns the public about one of its predators, Fr. Alfred Prado, saying he “has been attempting to conduct ministry in a cult-like community setting in Costa Rica.” (Though of course it would have been better had they been more forthcoming about the location and name of the ‘ministry.’)
But very few dioceses reveal where their predator priests are now.
(Besides Fr. Prado, their ‘still living’ and ‘credibly accused’ clerics include Fr. David L. Colella, who lives at a church facility in Baltimore, MD.)
The St. Augustine Florida diocese gives us a span of years during with each perpetrator abused, which is theoretically helpful we suppose, but won’t disclose their work assignments or photos or last known whereabouts or whether they’ve been defrocked or anything else.
(Their ‘still living’ and ‘credibly accused’ clerics include: John H. Dux, David McCreanor and Michael E. Morse.)
Meanwhile, the St. Petersburg Florida diocese lists only predators’ names – nothing else. But to their credit, they also list abusive lay employees.
There’s really only one conclusion here: Despite repeated promises and an allegedly binding national abuse policy that supposedly mandates “openness” and “transparency,” little has changed. Most Catholic bishops are still not ‘coming clean’ about clergy sex crimes and cover ups.
They provide information only when pressure from politicians, police, prosecutors, parishioners and the public force them to do so.
And they provide as LITTLE information as they think they can get by with providing.
On the other hand, however, some dioceses do better than others.
The San Diego California diocese provides a fair amount of information, but printed so small that it’s hard to read.
(Their ‘still living’ and ‘credibly accused’ clerics include: Gustavo Benson, James T. Booth, Jose Chavarin, James Patrick Foley, Paul Gill, George Lally, Patrick McNamara, Patrick J. O’Keefe, David Roll and Barry Vinyard.)
The Philadelphia Pennsylvania archdiocese may be the only one that provides predators’ photos.
And the Burlington Vermont diocese also provides considerable information about each predator.
(Their ‘still living’ and ‘credibly accused’ clerics include Conrad A. Bessette, Paul M. Bresnahan, Leo J. Courcy Jr., John B. “Jack” Kenney, Dennis J. LaRoche, Charles G. Many, James J. McShane Jr., Brian E. Mead, Stephen J. Nichols, Edward O. Paquette, George A. Paulin, Ronald A. Soutiere, Raymond D. Walsh and Alfred Willis.)
But again, for the most part, most church ‘credibly accused’ lists are inaccurate and inadequate, deliberately designed to obscure and minimize the extent of this horror.
Finally, you might ask “Why do you at Horowitz Law go to the trouble of listing the ‘still living’ credibly accused child molesting clerics, in this blog and elsewhere?”
The answer is threefold.
First, we want to protect kids. The more people know the names of potentially dangerous individuals, the more children will be safer.
Second, we want to remind citizens and Catholics that the overwhelming majority of still living predators are unsupervised, out on their own, living or working among unsuspecting families, neighbors and colleagues. This is a recipe for disaster.
Third, most bishops work hard to give the impression that these horrific crimes were all ancient and the bad guys are all dead.
That’s self-serving spin. And that’s simply wrong.
Horowitz Law represents children and adults who were victims of sexual abuse by clergy— where it be a priest, minister, rabbi, deacon, nuns, or other clergy. If you or someone you know was a victim of sexual abuse or sexual assault at a church or other religious organization, please contact our law firm at 888-283-9922 or send an email to [email protected]