Diocese IDs 71 alleged sex abusers, cites failure of bishops

Diocese IDs 71 alleged sex abusers, cites failure of bishops

Diocese IDs 71 alleged sex abusers, cites failure of bishops

Bishop Ron Gainer. (Credit: Diocese of Harrisburg.)

The Roman Catholic diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has put out a list of 71 priests and others in the church accused of sexually abusing children in cases going back decades.

HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania — The Roman Catholic diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, has put out a list of 71 priests and others in the Church accused of sexually abusing children in cases going back decades.

The list includes 37 priests, three deacons, six seminarians, nine priests from other dioceses and 16 members of religious orders.

Bishop Ron Gainer issued a public apology Wednesday for the abuse and said the Church’s bishops shared the blame, having responded inadequately to all the allegations.

“This investigation has caused the diocese to take a frank look at its past as well as its present,” he said.

As a result, the name of every bishop since 1947 will be removed from Church facilities in the diocese.

“This decision may prove to be controversial, but as a bishop I strongly believe that leaders of the diocese must hold themselves to a higher standard and must yield honorary symbols in the interest of healing,” the bishop said.

Gainer also formerly waived any confidentiality rights the diocese holds in any settlement agreement it has reached in the past with the survivors of clerical abuse.

The Harrisburg Diocese issued its findings just days after the state Supreme Court said a nearly 900-page grand jury report on sex abuse in six dioceses, including Harrisburg, can be made public later this month.

The bishop said the diocese had planned on publishing the list earlier, but the attorney general asked them not to in order not to prejudice his office’s investigation.

Harrisburg is now the second diocese to get ahead of the grand jury report. The Erie Diocese in April identified more than 50 priests and lay people accused of child sexual abuse.

Crux staff contributed to this report.

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