(Braintree, Mass.) August 25, 2011... As part of Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley’s ongoing commitment to protect children and rebuild trust in the wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis, the Archdiocese of Boston today launched a web-based publication with respect to its clergy accused of sexual abuse of a child (www.bostoncatholic.org). The Cardinal’s decision to publish this information is detailed in a letter to the people of the Archdiocese (copy attached and available on the website) along with an open letter to survivors of sexual abuse and an open letter to the clergy of the Archdiocese.
“Having met with hundreds of survivors, I know firsthand the scars you carry. And I carry with me every day the pain of the Church’s failures. I express once again my sorrow for your pain and my apology for any way the Church and its clergy have failed you,” said Cardinal Seán O’Malley in the written decision document published with the list. “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.”
Since 2002, the Archdiocese has had in place a vigorous policy with respect to disclosing information about clergy accused of abusing minors. First and foremost, it is the policy of the Archdiocese to immediately report to law enforcement all allegations of clergy sexual abuse of children. These notifications are made to local District Attorneys’ offices, the Massachusetts Attorney General, and, when appropriate, federal law enforcement. Second, the Archdiocese publicly discloses when a member of its clergy is removed from active ministry pending an investigation into an allegation of child abuse. Finally, the Archdiocese publicly discloses when a member of its clergy is convicted of sexual abuse of a child as a result of a criminal process or when, after a canonical process, a member of the clergy is removed from the clerical state.
The publication announced today represents the first time that names of accused clerics have been compiled by the Archdiocese in a central location and a readily accessible format, including the names of accused clergy in the following categories:
- The names of all Boston Archdiocese clergy who have been found guilty of sexually abusing a child, either by the Church (canon law), the State (criminal law), or both. In the case of criminal convictions, the cleric either has been convicted after a criminal trial or has pled guilty to a crime involving the sexual abuse of a child. In the case of canonical processes, the clerics whose names are included either have been dismissed from the clerical state at the end of the canonical process, or have been assigned to a life of prayer and penance, with no ministry possible.
- The names of all Boston Archdiocese clergy who have been laicized after having been accused of sexually abusing a minor. Laicization under Church law is a process whereby the priest voluntarily requests that he be separated from the clerical state.
- The names of all clergy of the Archdiocese who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing a child where canonical proceedings remain to be completed. In each case, the cleric involved has been removed from public ministry and remains on administrative leave.
- The names of Boston Archdiocese clergy who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing a child, but who had already been laicized and therefore were no longer in active ministry by the time the accusations were received.
- The names of those deceased clergy of the Archdiocese who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing a child, but where criminal or canonical proceedings were not completed. In most of these cases, the accused priest had died before the allegations were received.
Additional information posted includes the cleric’s year of birth and year of ordination; whether the cleric is alive or deceased, and if deceased, the year of death; for members of the clergy who are alive, their status as well as the date of any laicization, dismissal, or conviction; and a link to the cleric’s assignment history.
In addition, the Archdiocese has published a separate listing of the names of clergy who have been publicly accused of sexually abusing a child where the allegations have been found unsubstantiated by the Review Board after a preliminary investigation or where the priest has been acquitted after a canonical process. In a number of cases, these priests have been returned to active ministry.
The Archdiocese recognizes that the release of this information could be a difficult experience for those who have been abused and their families, as well as for the family members of the priests listed and the parish communities in which they once served. The Archdiocese invites any individual who has been harmed by clergy sexual abuse to contact our Office of Pastoral Support and Outreach at (781) 794-2581 or (866) 244-9603. The Archdiocese also asks that anyone with additional information or corrections to the lists being published today contact the Delegate for Investigations at (617) 746-5639.