New York Archdiocese names 120 priests accused of sexual abuse
NEW YORK (AP) — At least 120 priests accused of sexually abusing a child or having child pornography have worked in the Archdiocese of New York, the archdiocese said Friday in releasing a list of names that includes bishops, high school teachers, a scouting chaplain and a notorious cardinal.
The release, from the nation's second-largest Roman Catholic archdiocese, follows more than 120 such disclosures from other dioceses around the country as the church reckons with demands for transparency about sex abuse by clergy.
In a letter to church members, Cardinal Timothy Dolan said he realises "the shame that has come upon our church due to the sexual abuse of minors."
He asked forgiveness "for the failings of those clergy" who betrayed the trust invested in them to protect young people.
"It is my heartfelt prayer that together we as a family of faith may be healed," Dolan added.
Church abuse watchdogs and lawyers for abuse accusers said the release of the list was a positive step, but some of them saw it as incomplete.
It doesn't include accused members of religious orders who worked in the archdiocese's churches and schools, though some orders have released their own lists. Nor does it list priests who were ordained elsewhere and later served in New York.
And there are no details on accused priests' past assignments or the allegations against them, although some have emerged in news accounts, lawsuits and criminal cases.
"It's certainly a good thing that they've come out with the list," said Terry McKiernan of Bishop Accountability, a watchdog group. But "do they still not see that this very, very reluctant way of offering information about the crisis is the wrong way for them?"
Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said that "the important thing is that we have released all of the names of priests that have a credible and substantiated charge brought against them," plus those awaiting a church determination on allegations, and those newly accused through an archdiocese-run compensation process.
The program has paid out $65 million to over 350 people in the past three years.