CHARLESTON, South Carolina — The Catholic diocese in South Carolina on Friday released a list of 42 priests with ties to the state who have been credibly accused of sexually abusing children.
All but 11 of the priests on the list released by the Charleston Diocese have died. The list doesn’t specify the parishes or institutions where the priests served.
The list was broken into four parts. Twenty-one priests served in South Carolina. Others were named in a class-action settlement over abuse, had abuse claims from a diocese outside South Carolina or were a visiting priest to the state.
Bishop Robert Guglielmone said he was releasing the list with a heavy heart, but also wanting to assure accountability and transparency.
“It is my fervent hope and prayer that publishing this list will help bring healing to the victims and their families who have been so grievously harmed by the betrayal of priests and Church leadership,” Guglielmone wrote in a note released with the list.
The list was compiled from a review of priest records and the names were reviewed by the Church’s Sexual Abuse Advisory Board. Being included on the list isn’t a finding of guilt, but does mean the allegation either seems to be true or has reasonable grounds to be believed, Guglielmone said.
The release of the names is part of the Catholic Church’s international reckoning with allegations of sex abuse that have proliferated around the world.
“In order to experience a resurgence of holiness, we in the Church must continue to strengthen the protections provided to our children and young people in our parishes and schools. I urge you, the faithful of our Diocese, to participate in this resurgence,” Guglielmone wrote.
The Charleston Diocese covers all of South Carolina, where it estimates about 500,000 people practice the Catholic faith.
A grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania last year identified nearly 300 “predator priests” going back nearly 70 years, and it accused Roman Catholic Church leaders of covering up the abuse. The Associated Press reported that in the final four months of 2018, Roman Catholic dioceses in the United States released the names of more than 1,000 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children.
More information has been released since then. In January, 14 Catholic dioceses in Texas identified 286 priests and others accused of sexually abusing children. Earlier this month, the Catholic Church in Mississippi released the names of 37 clergy members accused of abusing children.