The Archdiocese of New York has finally published a list of 120 clergy that abused children. The list includes 115 priests and 5 deacons. For months now, the Archdiocese and Cardinal Timothy Dolan have been criticized for failing to publish a list of known priests who abused children.
The list does not include extern priests-priests who worked in the Archdiocese but were from a different diocese. It also does not include name of religious order priests who’ve been accused of child sexual abuse.
In publishing the list, the Archdiocese provided no details concerning assignment history of those listed. One of the names on the list, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, also appears on the list provided by the Archdiocese of Newark.
The New York archdiocese listed 53 priests and deacons who were credibly accused of abuse, admitted to it, were convicted of a crime related to it, or were involved in a civil settlement. Most of them were either defrocked or have died. Included on that list was Theodore E. McCarrick, the former cardinal who was one of the highest-profile leaders in the church to be accused of abuse and was recently expelled from the priesthood.
Nearly 60 other clergy members named had died or left the ministry before being accused in cases that led to financial settlements from the archdiocese’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Program. The list also includes eight priests who have been removed from ministry and are awaiting final canonical or archdiocesan disposition of allegations against them.
Most of the alleged abuse took place between the 1950s and the 1990s, according to a graph provided by the archdiocese. The archdiocese also said that since the 2002 overhaul of the church’s practices surrounding abuse claims, two cases had been found credible.
While some praised Cardinal Dolan for publishing the list, it is a small step. Dolan has controlled the medium and the message throughout the history of the scandal which dates back to the turn of the millennium. He was one of the major forces behind the movement to stop the New York legislature from passing a bill that would allow survivors to bring civil claims against the Catholic Church. He lost and now the Archdiocese and other dioceses in New York face a wave of civil lawsuits this summer.
It’s important to keep in mind that the published list is the result of the church’s self-reporting. Unlike in Pennsylvania where a grand jury independently investigated the church, the Catholic Church in other parts of the United States is offering sanitized versions of reports. This will not stop the abuse of children. Only when people read such investigations as the Grand Jury Report, does real change happen. Perhaps the New York Attorney General will convene a grand jury and investigate the Empire State’s Catholic dioceses. Only then will we know the real story behind the names and numbers issued by the Cardinal of New York. Only then will he be held accountable for the terrible suffering of innocent children.