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Catholic Church identifies nearly 300 Texas priests ‘credibly accused’ of sex abuse

February 01, 2019 - 11:09 am

HOUSTON (1010 WINS) -- The Roman Catholic Church in Texas has released a massive list of the names of priests who they say were credibly accused of abusing children over nearly decades.

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The state's 15 dioceses posted the nearly 300 names online, the New York Times reported, and Galveston-Houston Archbishop, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo said releasing the names was the right thing to do.

WEB EXTRA: List of Texas priests who have been 'credibly accused' of sex abuse

“The bishops of Texas have decided to release the names of these priests at this time because it is right and just and to offer healing and hope to those who have suffered,” DiNardo said. “On behalf of all who have failed in this regard, I offer my sincerest apology. Our church has been lacerated by this wound and we must take action to heal it.”

Texas' 8.5 million Catholics make it one of the most heavily Catholic states in the country, the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops says. In November, local and federal authorities raided the offices of the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese amid a probe into sexual abuse.

An August report unveiled seven decades of abuse claims against over 300 priests. That's prompted over a dozen states to investigate the Catholic church, but no such investigation has been started in Texas. Texas officials did say that they would provide assistance in the event of local or federal investigations.

“We have not received any such requests, but we are ready to provide assistance to local prosecutors in accordance with state law and original criminal jurisdiction,” Marc Rylander, spokesman for the Texas Attorney General said in an email. “No young person should ever live in fear of abuse, especially abuse from religious and spiritual leaders.”

Some dioceses published lists that date as far back as the 1940s, meaning many of the accused have already died. Some of those named have been prosecuted.

Victims advocates say the records fail to include important information and that more needs to be done to protect survivors.

“All of this is the fox guarding the henhouse,” survivors advocate Paul Petersen said. “Most of this has not been corroborated by the police department, so you have to scratch your head and say, ‘Where is the actual transparency?’”

Petersen said given the sheer amount of Catholics in Texas, the number of priests who have attacked minors may be even higher than the 300 that have been reported.

Most of the incidents were reported before 2002, when the church began a crackdown on clerical misconduct.