RI diocese publishes list of 50 clerics accused of sex abuse

Bishop calls list an expression of transparency

By Leah Asmelash and Saeed Ahmed, CNN
Tim Boyle/Getty Images

(CNN) - A Roman Catholic diocese in Providence, Rhode Island, published a list of clergy members accused of sexually abusing minors.

The list, published at the end of June, contains 50 names of deacons, clergy members and priests who have been accused, along with their ages and whether they resigned, died or were removed from the ministry.

Some of the files that were used date to 1950, and every file was reviewed by the diocese's director of compliance.

In a letter published Friday, Bishop of Providence Thomas Tobin outlined two reasons for publishing the list: a societal expectation and church members' right to know. He called the list an expression of transparency.

"The failure to publish the list would create an impression that we do not take the situation seriously, but we certainly do; or that we have something to hide, and in fact we do not!" Tobin wrote.

Tobin also emphasized that the people on the list are not necessarily guilty, only that an allegation has been received and deemed credible.

The list's publication comes at a tumultuous time for the Catholic Church, which is at the center of an international sex abuse scandal. According to a survey published this year, American Catholics' faith in the church has fallen sharply, and the church spent nearly $200 million in legal settlements related to clergy sexual abuse in the United States alone between 2017 and 2018.

States across the country have begun investigations into the Catholic Church. Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, a former Vatican ambassador to the United States, called for Pope Francis to resign in August over his handling of sexual abuse allegations in 2013.

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