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Archdioceses: Start Naming Names

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From The Patriot Ledger:

BOSTON – Three advocacy groups for clergy sex-abuse victims are asking the Archdiocese of Boston to do unto Massachusetts as the church had to do in New Hampshire – release the names of all credibly accused priests.

In separate letters to Cardinal Sean O’Malley, the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP), Boston’s Voice of the Faithful and Massachusetts-based BishopAccountability.org said that a full, publicly available list of accused priests is a matter of public safety.

“Every day that goes by without a list, kids are at risk,” SNAP founder David Clohessy of Chicago said on Tuesday.

The Patriot Ledger made a similar request to the Catholic archdiocese last fall while preparing a report on the whereabouts of dozens of suspended and defrocked priests.

The archdiocese said then that a complete list couldn’t be provided because of confidentiality rules and due-process rights for priests who were accused but not proven to be abusers.

The archdiocese hasn’t responded to the three groups’ latest letters, but a spokesman for the archdiocese, Terrence Donilon, said a revision to the church’s current policy will probably be disclosed “in the coming months.”

That suggests Cardinal O’Malley and other church officials are considering making more information public about accused priests.

Meanwhile, Donilon said the archdiocese continues to report allegations of clergy sex abuse to local police and district attorneys, as well as publicly identify priests who are removed from active ministry while an investigation is made.

“We continue to evaluate our disclosure policies as we seek to resolve cases in a manner that is just for all parties concerned,” Donilon said.

Clohessy and BishopAccountability.org President Terry McKiernan said they were prompted to send the letters about two weeks ago, when New Hampshire’s attorney general released the files of dozens of accused priests from that state’s diocese.

The files included 27 priests who hadn’t been previously identified, even though some allegations were decades old.

In 2003 the Massachusetts attorney general’s office counted 237 suspect priests in the archdiocese.