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Catholic leaders in Texas name 286 accused of abusing minors

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, speaks at a news conference Nov. 13, 2017, in Baltimore during the USCCB's annual fall meeting. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

DALLAS (AP) — Catholic leaders in Texas on Thursday identified 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children, a number that represents one of the largest collections of names to be released since an explosive grand jury report last year in Pennsylvania.

Fourteen dioceses in Texas named those credibly accused of abuse. The only diocese not to provide names, Fort Worth, did so more than a decade ago and then provided an updated accounting in October.

There are only a handful of states where every diocese has released names, and most of them have only one or two Catholic districts. Arkansas, for instance, is covered by the Diocese of Little Rock, which in September provided a preliminary list of 12 former priests, deacons and others. Oklahoma has two districts: The Archdiocese of Oklahoma City is scheduled to publicly identify accused priests on Feb. 28, and the Diocese of Tulsa previously named two former priests accused of predatory behavior.

The move by Texas church leaders follows a shocking Pennsylvania report in August detailing seven decades of child sexual abuse by more than 300 predator priests. Furthermore, the Illinois attorney general reported last month that at least 500 Catholic clergy in that state had sexually abused children.

In the months after that report, about 50 dioceses and religious provinces have released the names of nearly 1,250 priests and others accused of abuse. Approximately 60 percent of them have died. About 30 other dioceses are investigating or have promised to release names of credibly accused priests in the coming months.

In Texas, the Diocese of Dallas and some others relied on retired police and federal investigators to review church files and other material to substantiate claims of abuse. It’s not clear whether any of the names released Thursday could result in local prosecutors bringing criminal charges. The majority of those identified have since died. Some investigations dated back to 1950, while other reviews, as in the case of the Diocese of Laredo, only went to 2000 because that’s when that diocese was established. Of the 286 men named in Texas, 172 have died, a percentage comparable with the national tally.

“Our office stands ready to assist local law enforcement and any district attorney’s office that asks for our help in dismantling this form of evil and removing the threat of those who threaten Texas children,” said Marc Rylander, spokesman for the Texas attorney general’s office. “To date, 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.”

The head of the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, also is president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and is expected to attend a February summit called by Pope Francis to sensitize church leaders around the globe to the pain of victims, instruct them how to investigate cases and develop general protocols for church hierarchy to use.

DiNardo said in a statement Thursday that “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. 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.”

In a statement released with the report of the San Antonio archdiocese, which had the longest list of names among Texas dioceses with 56 dating to 1940, Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller said the abuse allegations and the mishandling of some by bishops “are tearing the church apart.” Although the release of the report “brings tension and pain,” the archbishop said he was “filled with serenity and peace” by the disclosures.

Victim advocates and those who have been tracking clergy abuse for decades have said the church has a bad record of policing itself, and law enforcement investigations into church records of allegations are the only way to ensure real transparency. They argue that there is no uniform definition of credibly accused priests and that dioceses use different standards when deciding what names to release.

For example, the San Antonio archdiocese examined decades of allegations made against clergy and religious order priests dating back decades. The Diocese of Laredo released no names after its bishop said staff had examined its records for the 19 years since it was created, shortly before new stricter standards for handling abuse allegations were instituted across the church, and found no credible allegations.

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David Warren

42 Comments

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  • DiNardo did the right thing – led the bishops of Texas to do the right thing. It took way too long to get to this point. But, maybe we are getting closer to that place where the sins of the past are confessed and trust can be rebuilt. We have been repeatedly angered by ongoing revelations that have spanned over 30 years, if you go back to the 1985 case of Gilbert Gauthe in Louisiana. We can’t seem to move forward with so many terrible secrets from the past dribbling out into the open.

    I do not know if we can rebuild that trust without structural changes in the Church with respect to oversight of bishops and accountability of bishops. There is still no structure in which lay people can effectively get the attention of the Vatican or an apostolic nuncio or a metropolitan archbishop and get any response. We shall have to see if the meeting in February of all bishop conference heads recognizes they actually do need to hear the voice of the laity. The pope also needs to take a look at how religious orders are handling reporting misdeeds of members of the orders, and coverups that have occurred (are occurring?). We have focused so much on bishops, but reporting by religious order brothers and priests – and sometimes sisters – is probably at this point worse than the bishops.

    Pray for those meeting this month in the Vatican. While they need to finally deal openly and effectively with child sex abuse, they are finally also confronting the problem of sex abuse of nuns/sisters by priests/bishops.

  • Far from being a “gay problem,” it is very clear that the amount of child abuse that occurs within Roman Catholicism, an amount that far exceeds that of any other denomination or secular institution, makes it distinctly a “Catholic problem.”

  • Most of this news…if it were a public school list of abusers…would be WAAAAY old news.

    But it’s good to take a look at the data to see how sort of priests were engaged in this behavior?

    Was it the fragile sort of priests chasing young men?

    Was it manly men chasing 16 year old girls?

    Hoping to see more details on this topic.

  • You must have found more data than I did.

    Where do you see the data showing the abuser-victim sex (male or female) breakdown?

    Was it different from the USCCB report that showed more than 80% of the abusers were same sex abusers, and 91% of the victims being post-pubescent?

    Was it different from the PA AG report, which showed highly similar %s?

    Where did you see the breakdown that led to your conclusion?

  • Since “The majority of those identified have since died,” it seems to have abated. It seems that many wish there was more, so they can ignore what’s really happening in our society on this issue.

  • These “men” were supposed to be a step above the rest of us being called specifically by god to serve him. So what happened? Bottom line: there is no god!

  • I have no numbers to back this up, but youth and high school sports has the same problem. As I understand it, the two “institutions” share in common a culture that allows unfettered access to young people and little to no oversight or accountability. I agree it is not a “gay” problem that would be solved by allowing priests to marry (not commenting on that proposal at all, just saying it wouldn’t fix this problem). Both sports and the Catholic Church need to fix that culture if this is to end.

    It is my belief that there is a special place in hell for the perpetrators of these atrocities and I daresay some (all?) of those who helped cover them up. (Matthew 18:6 – “If anyone causes one of these little ones to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”)

  • Conversely, we have the Son of God who became a man, and redeemed us. He was the only man who never sinned. We are all called to serve God. The many fine priests who serve him witness to his Holiness.

  • Au contraire!! Once again:

    JC’s family and friends had it right 2000 years ago ( Mark 3: 21 “And when his friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him: for they said, He is beside himself.”)

    Said passage is one of the few judged to be authentic by most contemporary NT scholars. e.g. See Professor Ludemann’s conclusion in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years, p. 24 and p. 694.

    Actually, Jesus was a bit “touched”. After all he thought he spoke to Satan, thought he changed water into wine, thought he raised Lazarus from the dead etc. In today’s world, said Jesus would be declared legally insane.

    Or did P, M, M, L and J simply make him into a first century magic-man via their epistles and gospels of semi-fiction? Many contemporary NT experts after thorough analyses of all the scriptures go with the latter magic-man conclusion with J’s gospel being mostly fiction.

    Obviously, today’s followers of Paul et al’s “magic-man” are also a bit on the odd side believing in all the Christian mumbo jumbo about bodies resurrecting, and exorcisms, and miracles, and “magic-man atonement, and infallible, old, European/Utah/Argentinean white men, and 24/7 body/blood sacrifices followed by consumption of said sacrifices. Yummy!!!!

  • You are pretty much following the Roman pagan’s idea of Christianity and other religions as magical superstitions. So this very consistency shows that Christianity has a staying power when other such ones have long passed away (for example rites of Mithras). Jesus said “Where I am there also shall my servant, be.” I’m happy to be on his side.

  • “Where I am there also shall my servant be.” John 12: 26

    But did Jesus actually say these words? The jury is still out. http://www.faithfutures.org/JDB/jdb063.html

    But keep in mind that many contemporary NT exegetes consider the gospel of John the least historic of the gospels and some even go further:

    Professor Gerd Ludemann’s studies and conclusions can found in his book, Jesus After 2000 Years. He summarizes the authentic NT passages on pp. 694-695 (10% authentic) and as with many other experts, Professor Ludemann notes the following:
    p. 416,

    “Anyone looking for the historical Jesus will not find him in the Gospel of John. ”

    See also http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/john.html

  • The “historical” Jesus cannot save. John’s Gospel bids us to soar like the eagle. To not be blinded when we look directly at the Son, who saves us from our sins. The Holy Spirit testifies to this, whatever poor Professor Ludemann notes.

  • Still only scratching the surface — Pennsylvania, Texas, a couple orders and dioceses — but 48 more states to go.

    And I suspect very few believe the Diocese of Laredo has had no errant priests. The cover-up is every bit as sinful as the original crime.

    Finally, don’t overlook the nuns part in this scandal — abuse of and by their own, and cover-ups similar to the bishops and priests will come to light I suspect.

  • Don’t be too sure.

    “A few years ago, data was gathered from some of the top insurance providers for Protestant churches. It was found that they received 260 reports a year of minors being sexually abused by church leaders or church members. Similarly, the John Jay Report on the Catholic Church came up with 228 credible accusations by priests.

    Again, sexual abuse is one of the most underreported criminal offenses. But if you just look at these numbers, they tell us that more children are being abused within Protestant churches than in the Catholic Church.”

    Source: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/xwwd3w/billy-grahams-grandson-says-protestants-abuse-kids-just-like-catholics

    Of course, Boz Tchividjian doesn’t state conclusively that the problem of child sexual abuse is worse in Protestant churches — no one can say for sure. One way or the other.

  • There is no “holy ghost/spirit”. There is no Son of God saving us from sin.

    Summarizing it in the reality of the 21st century:

    from Professor JD Crossan’s book, “Who is Jesus” co-authored with Richard Watts)

    “Moreover, an atonement theology that says God sacrifices his own son in place of humans who needed to be punished for their sins might make some Christians love Jesus, but it is an obscene picture of God. It is almost heavenly child abuse, and may infect our imagination at more earthly levels as well. I do not want to express my faith through a theology that pictures God demanding blood sacrifices in order to be reconciled to us.”

    “Traditionally, Christians have said, ‘See how Christ’s passion was foretold by the prophets.” Actually, it was the other way around. The Hebrew prophets did not predict the events of Jesus’ last week; rather, many of those Christian stories were created to fit the ancient prophecies in order to show that Jesus, despite his execution, was still and always held in the hands of God.”

    “In terms of divine consistency, I do not think that anyone, anywhere, at any time, including Jesus, brings dead people back to life.”

  • The millions of clergy sex abuse victims and survivors around the world has something else to say.

  • It’s like saying…patient has cancer.

    Well, what kind of cancer, what stages, what’s the likelihood that this illness will recur, happen with others.

    It’s call “getting data” down to the roots so we know more about what we’re dealing with, and what we seem to be dealing with overwhelmingly is same sex abusers.

  • If you truly deny John’s Gospel, and the Holy Spirit, it would seem like that, I suppose. For the Gospel of John (no matter if it was John who wrote it, or one who was inspired by his teachings) is big on the Holy Trinity. The whole thing is about SIGNS and TESTIMONY. It begins with the Beginning. The Son is not abused, but a volunteer, as he also is God. The first chapter has the following line: “These things took place at Bethany beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.” Bethany means “Courthouse.” Throughout this Gospel, Jesus “bears witness to the Truth.” The truth is that he is the one foretold in Isaiah 42, as he said in Nazareth, when he declared himself. And Isaiah 53 does indeed predict his passion. Who doesn’t want to rise from the dead? Don’t you?

  • What’s odd is if what you said were true…you’re saying that I am a homosexual…which in your book is just a-ok. So you’re making what point?

    Your reason was left on the floor of a men’s room at a highway rest stop.

  • Again you apparently have been brainwashed in the “teachings” of the bible. Time to do some serious review of said book. By rigorous historic testing for example , the NT is 90% historically nil.

  • There’s a lot in there, to dismiss 90% of it so easily. What is true, is that it works, in my experience. May I ask? Were you baptized?

  • Baptized RCC as a baby. Brainwashed for 57 years then I started doing the necessary rigorous historic testing and have not looked back .

    Atheist and proud with all that guilt and brainwash rinsed away in truth and reality.

  • Yet, there’s an indelible mark there. Not brainwashed, soul-washed! We will have to agree to disagree. Peace.

  • Soul? And your definition?

    The 21st century version- another human construct to differentiate us from the rest of the animal kingdom. It is simply another word for human intelligence living on in our words, science, buildings and art.

    And human souls tainted with original sin? Another Christian myth as there were no biblical Adam and Eve.

    The view of original sin and Baptism as per the teachings of a major Catholic university:

    Baptism does not erase original sin since the sin does not
    exist. The “laundry of the soul,” approach to Baptism is no
    longer accepted.

    Infant Baptism is only a rite of initiation and commits parents and godparents to
    bringing up the child in a Christian home. Baptism is now celebrated at Sunday Eucharist, all the members of the parish family are encouraged to pledge their support and care for the
    faith life of the newly baptized.

  • I do feel for you and for all disillusioned by their religion/leaders. I know, I am going through it. But, there is one thing I know for sure, I have seen God work in my life, God as in Jesus even before I was a Christian/Catholic. Many times many miracles:)

  • Teaching that in universities is a mistake. The official teaching on Baptism and original sin is: Catechism of the Catholic Church 1250: “Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children also have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the ream of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called.”
    The parents and godparents indeed speak their desire to raise the child in the Faith when they make the baptismal promises. So, once again, may I ask, did you renew your baptismal vows when you were confirmed?

    Soul: When people say one passes away, they are indicating a continuity there, after death.

  • The RCC Catechism? Said book is so outdated it is hilarious that one even references it. And the authors? Statistically at least a few pedophiles.

  • The catechism has clear links to earlier catechisms. So unless you accuse them, too, your answer is invalid.

  • Priestly misconduct has been pervasive throughout Rcc history i ..e
    The early heresies, the schisms, the Reformation, the inquisitions , the scandalous popes , the pedophilia and coverups et. al.

  • Laity misconduct has been a problem throughout Church history. The point is: If humans were sinless, there would be no need for a Church. I don’t think you are an atheist. Aren’t you a secular humanist?

  • Secular humanist, secular moralist, atheist, all three? yes!!!

    Bottom line: There was no Easter and therefore your faith (and catechism) are in vain.

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