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Texas Catholics Will Announce Names Of Clergy “Who Have Been Credibly Accused Of Sexually Abusing A Minor”

News release from the Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops:

The 15 Catholic dioceses in Texas and the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter made the decision on Sept. 30 to release names of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor, going back at least to 1950.

The bishops’ decision was made in the context of their ongoing work to protect children from sexual abuse, and their efforts to promote healing and a restoration of trust in the Catholic Church.

“This is an action in response to the faithful’s call for greater accountability and transparency,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston. “Every bishop in our state has made a statement expressing his concern for all who have been hurt and I want to express my personal sorrow at such fundamental violations of trust that have happened. We are completely committed to eradicating the evil of sexual abuse in the church and promoting healing among the faithful and those injured by this crime.”

With 8.5 million Catholics and 1,320 Catholic parishes in Texas, the endeavor to compile a comprehensive list of clergy who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor represents a major project. All dioceses will publish their lists by Jan. 31, 2019.

“It will take some time for files to be reviewed, and there may be people who come forward with new information following this announcement. My brother bishops in Texas and I agree that transparency in this painful matter of sexual abuse can assist with healing for survivors and transformation for our Church,” explained Archbishop Gustavo García-Siller, MSpS, archbishop of San Antonio.

The release of names of clergy credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor is part of an ongoing effort by the dioceses to provide an even safer environment for children. These lists will be updated as new information becomes available. Each bishop will be releasing his own statement and list.

We are deeply sorry that some Church leaders have, at times, failed in their responsibility to protect minors.

The Catholic Church throughout the United States has worked to improve protection, especially over the last fifteen years. We will remain vigilant to provide an even safer environment for every child we serve.

The Catholic Church in Texas is committed to the prevention of sexual abuse of minors by those who are in ministry in the Church and to promote healing for survivors of abuse. Each diocese has comprehensive policies in place both to respond to complaints and to prevent the sexual abuse of minors. These safety policies and practices are regularly verified by an external audit of each diocese.

PREVENTION OF ABUSE:

Safe Environment: All Texas dioceses have implemented comprehensive “safe environment” education programs and have together trained many of the 8.5 million Catholics in the state — adults,
minors, employees, clergy, and volunteers — on how to identify, report, and help prevent abuse. Prior to his anticipated ministry, every priest seeking to minister in a diocese is to present a written attestation of suitability supplied by his bishop/religious superior.

Background Checks: The dioceses conduct background evaluations for all bishops, priests, deacons, and religious, as well as other diocesan, parish, and school personnel who have regular contact with minors. Since 2002, criminal background checks have been completed regularly on volunteers, employees, and clergy who are involved in ministry in the Church.

RESPONSE TO ALLEGATIONS OF ABUSE

Reporting to Civil Authorities: All of the Texas Catholic dioceses have policies to report to civil authorities whenever there is cause to believe that a minor has been sexually abused.

Removal from Ministry: Diocesan policies provide that a bishop, priest, deacon, or religious who has been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor will be removed from ministry.

HEALING OF SURVIVORS

Therapeutic and Pastoral Response: Each diocese has a Victim Assistance Coordinator who facilitates the provision of counseling and other professional assistance to help those who report they
were sexually abused as a minor. In addition, all victims of childhood sexual abuse by a minister of the Church have the opportunity to meet with the bishop in order to facilitate healing.

PUBLICATION OF NAMES

Dioceses to Publish Local Lists: Texas dioceses are actively reviewing files of bishops, priests, and deacons. By January 31, 2019, each bishop will publish a list of clergy credibly
accused of sexual abuse of a minor in his diocese dating back to at least 1950.

How to Report: Visit http://txcatholic.org/how-to-report for information on reporting abuse.

News release from the Diocese of Austin:

Bishop Joe S. Vásquez, of the Diocese of Austin, joined the other 15 Texas bishops in announcing today he will publish, by Jan. 31, 2019, the names of clergy, from 1950 forward, who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing a minor.

“My hope in releasing these names is to be transparent and begin to rebuild trust with the people I shepherd. This is only one action in response to this crisis in our church. As the Bishop of the Diocese of Austin, I am committed to protecting children from any abuse. Indeed, this is what Christ expects from me and all who serve His people,” Bishop Vásquez said.

“I am most concerned for the victims who suffered abuse at the hands of clergy, and I ask their forgiveness. I continue to pray for their healing and well-being,” said Bishop Vásquez who celebrated a Mass of Reparation on Oct. 9 at St. Mary Cathedral in Austin. In addition, Bishop Vásquez asked the priests to join him in celebrating a Mass of Reparation and for every Catholic in the Diocese of Austin, beginning Oct. 9, to pray a novena for all victims of sexual abuse by clergy.

Through its Ethics and Integrity in Ministry (EIM) program, the Diocese of Austin has followed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People since its inception in 2002. The EIM program requires all people in ministry, including clergy, to undergo training and a criminal background check every three years. The diocese has trained more than 79,400 people through its EIM program.

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Posted by on Oct 10 2018. Filed under Featured Stories, Local News for Newsletter, News.
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