58 Priests Named as “Credibly Accused” for Sexually Assaulting Parishioners in a List Released by VA Dioceses

Sexually Assaulting ParishionersUPDATED: 2019/02/14 12:00 PM

A new update in the ongoing investigation being done by the Catholic Church of it’s leaders yields a list of 58 Virginia priests who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing minors.

Virginia’s two Catholic dioceses, the Diocese of Arlington and the Diocese of Richmond each released a list of 16 and 42 names respectively, both citing the need to bring closure and justice to the victims families in order to begin the healing process.

None of the clergy listed in either diocese are currently in active ministry, spokesmen for the dioceses said; however a local survivor-advocate on Wednesday criticized both lists, stating that neither includes the names of the parishes where the 58 accused men served nor when they were removed from their positions.

The Church also faces additional criticism, as other advocates have pointed out that there is no agreed-upon standard among bishops for what constitutes “credibly accused,” nor a consensus on who should get to define it. A bishop raised the problem on the floor of the most recent annual U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops this past fall. The details of the cases aren’t made public and sometimes accused priests don’t make the lists.

Several Virginia lawmakers this year introduced a measure to make clergy and other “practitioners of any religious organization” mandatory reporters of child abuse or neglect, however still leaving an exemption for information that “is required by the doctrine of the religious organization or denomination to be kept confidential” in an attempt to satisfy some interpretations of constitutional privileges that religion gets to protect clerics’ conversations with parishioners.

While some see these investigations as a step in the right direction, many, including former victims of men found on this Virginia list, see it’s execution as “…reactive, not proactive”.