LINCOLN, Nebraska — The Catholic Diocese of Lincoln says allegations of sexually abusing minors have been substantiated against nine priests whose names have been released.
The diocese list released Tuesday includes the name of three priests who’ve died and includes priests already criminally convicted and those never charged. It was compiled by a four-member committee after Bishop James Conley ordered an outside review of past abuse allegations, how the diocese handled them and its efforts to protect children.
“It has become clear in my heart that we must do more for the victims of sexual abuse perpetrated by our brother priests, and honor these victims by ensuring that the next generation does not have to experience the scourge of abuse and the suffering that comes with years of silence and pain,” Conley wrote in a pastoral letter released at the same time as the list.
“There is no single answer, or single action, to combat this crisis, but I find myself consistently coming back to the same fundamental idea—vigilance. We must be vigilant,” the bishop continued.
“We can have policies and safe environment programming, but without vigilance and watchfulness by me, my staff, our clergy, our teachers, and you—the Faithful—those policies and programs simply will not work. Our commitment to protecting children cannot be limited to words that are put on a shelf to collect dust, but instead requires constant action and a continuing effort to build a culture of vigilance and zero tolerance.”
Conley said it was “an important step” to released the names of clerics credibly accused of abuse, “to reconcile with the past and acknowledge the pain caused by these men. Victims deserve this public acknowledgment.”
Father Nicholas Kipper, a Lincoln Diocese spokesman, says roughly two-thirds of U.S. dioceses have released similar lists. The Omaha Archdiocese named nearly 40 clergy members in November.
The Nebraska Attorney General’s Office requested the reports in August, shortly after a Pennsylvania grand jury report estimated that church officials covered up allegations that hundreds of priests in Pennsylvania molested more than 1,000 children since the 1940s.
Crux staff contributed to this report.