Diocese to release names of priests accused of sexual abuse
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) — The Catholic Diocese of Burlington will create a committee to look into allegations of abuse of minors involved with the church and release a list of priests accused of sexually abusing children, Bishop Christopher Coyne said Wednesday.
The church’s announcement comes as authorities investigate allegations of physical, mental and sexual abuse and murder at the now-shuttered St. Joseph’s Orphanage in Burlington and amid mounting pressure on the church to respond to sexual abuse claims.
A Pennsylvania Grand Jury report in August identified over 300 priests alleged to have engaged in sexual abuse over the last 70 years.
The Vermont Diocese has settled about 50 abuse cases, paying more than $31 million to victims.
Coyne said the new committee will be comprised of men and women not ordained by the church, who will examine personnel files related to any allegation of minor abuse, WCAX-TV reported. The panel will create a list of priests who have been accused, which will be made public.
“The crimes of the past were horrific and the damage to the victims and their loved ones horrendous,” Coyne said in a statement. “We will never be able to apologize adequately but will continue to try and hopefully have some positive impact in their lives going forward.”
The personnel files had been thoroughly reviewed in 2002-2003 and any that had credible allegations between 1950 and 200 were given to the state attorney general, Coyne said.
There has been one credible and substantiated allegation against a priest since 2002 involving an “at risk” adult, he said.
The bishop did not say when priests’ names would be released.