Transparency and Accountability: The Release of Names of Clergy Credibly Accused of Abuse

We have been called upon once again in these past months to address the issue of clergy sex abuse of minors, the suffering it causes, and the resulting loss of trust in the Church.  We have also discussed over the past several months ways in which greater transparency and accountability can be manifested.

To that end, many priests, the faithful and the public have requested information about priests of this archdiocese who have faced credible allegations of abuse of children.  For this reason I have directed the release of the names of all clergy in this local Church who have been credibly accused since 1948.

The names are now posted here on our archdiocesan website, and have been shared with media. As you review and share this information, in those same interests of openness, you should also be aware of the work that this archdiocese has been undertaking since 1986, when we were one of the first dioceses in the country to develop a written, comprehensive child protection policy.

It is important to note that to our knowledge there has not been an incident of abuse of a minor by a priest of the archdiocese in almost two decades. There is also no archdiocesan priest in active ministry who has ever been the subject of a credible allegation of abuse of a minor. Zero tolerance has been mandated in this archdiocese and zero abuse has been the result.

In 1986, the Archdiocese of Washington was one of the first dioceses in the country to adopt a written child protection policy. Since 1993, the archdiocese has had a Case Review Board, and since 2002, the archdiocese has also had a Child Protection Advisory Board consisting primarily of lay experts. Since 2002, the archdiocese also has had a fully staffed Office of Child Protection and Safe Environment, and spends on average $350,000 annually on child protection efforts, training and mandatory background checks for all priests, employees and volunteers who have substantial contact with children, as well as safe environment training for all children in Catholic schools and religious education programs. The archdiocese also releases an annual, independently audited report on its child protection efforts, which is posted on its website and published in its Catholic Standard newspaper.

These are the facts. We should be aware of them and share them to ensure members of our communities know that there is no safer place for a young person than an Archdiocese of Washington parish or school.

The Archdiocese urges anyone aware of suspected sexual misconduct by any clergy, employee, or volunteer of the archdiocese to report it to the authorities or contact the Office of Child Protection and Safe Environment for the Archdiocese of Washington at 301-853-5302.

The release of the names of these priests is a necessary step toward full transparency and accountability and the process of healing. Thank you for your prayers for survivors of abuse, for those who serve and accompany them on their paths toward healing, for our many good and faithful priests, deacons and religious, for our Church, and for me.