Oakland, California’s Catholic Diocese has revealed the names of 45 deacons, religious brothers and priests who officials have said are credibly accused of the sexual abuse of minors.
On Monday, The San Francisco Chronicle reported that the Oakland list dates back to 1962, the year the diocese had been founded. The accused men are not currently in the ministry. 20 of the accused were priests out of the 45 persons who were named.
Oakland is the most recent in a wave of dioceses across the United States releasing names in this scandal that involves pedophile priests and church cover-ups that go back decades.
The abuse mainly occurred in-between the 1960’s and 1980’s. Officials of the diocese claim there has not been any credible abuse accusations since the year 1988, but have affirmed the list may increase over the next months.
“I pray the public acknowledgment of the sinful actions on the part of some priests will help many of us to find healing and hope, to restore our trust in the Church, and to repair the damage caused to the reputation of so many good priests,” wrote Oakland Bishop Michael Barber in a letter.
A majority of the names list have been identified in the past by news articles and court filings. However, five of those names were not made public up until now, said the chancellor of the Oakland diocese, Stephan Wilcox.
The diocese considers it a “living list” according to Wilcox.
“This isn’t, ‘Oh, thank God we’ve got the list out. We’re done.’ This is now part of our process. And we know we have more work to do,” he said to The San Francisco Chronicle.
According to Wilcox, the information and list of names has been handed over to the Alameda County district attorney who will be determining if they warrant prosecution. However, Wilcox states that many of the accused have since died, and that there may be an issue with statutes of limitation.
Wilcox reached out to survivors over the past several weeks, but has not yet talked to them all.
“Survivors in general were pleased with the step but still think the church needs to do more,” said Wilcox.
Some victims demanded a direct apology from the church, while others say the Diocese of Oakland must offer additional services to the victims.
During last October, a law firm sued bishops to obtain records on abuse and released its own list of alleged abuser names. The list totaled in over 200 clergy located in the San Francisco Bay Area. The list released by The Jeff Anderson & Associates contained more names of clergy than what the Diocese of San Jose released, 95 of the names were tied to the Diocese of Oakland, which was over double of the diocese’s list of its own.
According to Wilcox, the “discrepancy lies in the standard used to qualify for a credible allegation.”
Featured Image Credit: Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, California, Bishop Michael Barber. (AP / Patrick Semansky, File)
Kyle James Lee – The AEGIS Alliance – This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.